I should start by apologising for the lack of content on this blog in recent weeks. The Blog is important to me, but ultimately it is something that I do for enjoyment rather than full-time employment and as a result, when the other issues in life, mainly my ever supportive wife and my teenage daughters need me, this must take a back seat. Add in the new content that I have been writing for the Tote (shameless plug) and it has proved to be a busy end to the year. I also wanted to add my thanks to everyone who subscribes to or even just casually reads this Blog from time to time, it has been another record breaking year for this site in terms of both unique visitors and daily sessions.
At this time of year there is always a lot of reflection and having spent a bit of time this weekend clearing the trackers and updating the various excel sheets that I keep, it made me think about the Racing and in particular the horses that I am looking forwards to seeing in 2024. With that in mind, I have put together a list of 5 to look out for and we start with a very exciting filly, Julica.
Trained by Christophe Ferland, she is a daughter of Kendargent, who has made a striking impression when winning several times in the South of France. Her most telling impression so far came when she finished down the field in the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc Day at Paris Longchamp, but that run can readily be excused by her track position in a race that was run to suit the impressive winner, Opera Singer. I thought it was significant that Wathnan Racing, who purchased her before the run at Paris Longchamp, booked James Doyle to ride her and with his new association with these emerging connections, it is a good sign that he already has an established relationship with the horse. She was dropped in at the start of the Marcel Boussac, which is always a risky strategy at Longchamp and so it proved. Despite running closing splits of 10.68 and 11.24s, she was never able to get on terms with the principles and I am more than happy to put a line through what was her first try in Group company.
Coming into the Arc weekend, she had looked top-class when winning a maiden and a Class 2 conditions race at La Teste. On both occasions, she had travelled extremely well, barely coming off the bit at any stage, winning each contest by over 4-lengths in the process. She has made amends for her Paris disappoint since when she won the Listed Criterium de Languedoc at Toulouse in November by over 2-lengths under Mickael Barzalona. The placed horses that chased her home that day, Itsy Bitsy and Luiza Bere, are both rated above 40-kilos and so it is not hard to argue that she produced a Group standard performance when beating them so easily off level weights.
Wathnan Racing are a coming force in the European Racing scene, and she has the potential to be a very smart 3-year-old, with a race like the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and obvious target for her if she trains on over the winter.