Five horses to follow for the Flat season featuring Royal Ascot

With Newmarket’s Qipco Guineas Festival wrapped up, the big summer races are just around the corner.

The Cazoo Oaks and Derby arrive first in June, quickly followed by Royal Ascot just a couple of weeks later.

Here Mirror Racing picks out five horses to follow for the top fixtures and beyond…

Indigo Girl

John Gosden’s daughter of Dubawi was most progressive as a juvenile, winning at Yarmouth on debut and ending up with a second in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile.

The winner that day, Pretty Gorgeous, had previously taken the runner-up spot at the top level and was a leading fancy for the 1000 Guineas until her late withdrawal.

When they met at Newmarket, Indigo Girl finished well to go down by just half-a-length, belying a slow start in the hood.

She should certainly get further and is in the betting for the Cazoo Oaks on June 4.

John Gosden recently reported she had ‘wintered well’ and the smart filly remains is an exciting prospect for the months ahead.

Indigo Girl (right) finished second to Pretty Gorgeous (yellow colours) in the 2020 Bet365 Fillies’ Mile


The full-brother to St Leger hero Kew Gardens opened his account when one of four winners for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore on April 17.

Sent off the evens favourite, he was asked for his effort in the straight and found his stride to pull clear by two lengths.

Moore was pleased with the Galileo colt, while O’Brien said he had been ‘very lazy’ in his work.

Beaten just three-quarters of a length by stablemate and Cazoo Derby favourite High Definition on debut, he is 16-1 at this stage – and if winning a trial, those odds should shorten appreciably.

Palace Pier

Palace Pier won the 2021 Bet365 Mile at Sandown Park

A second horse for the list from the John and Thady Gosden camp.

In 2020, he raced to a Group 1 double at Royal Ascot and Deauville before finding the very soft ground going against him on Champions Day.

Back with a bang at Sandown earlier this month, the clash with recent winner Khuzaam never materialised and Palace Pier was clear by eight lengths at the line.

Frankie Dettori was thrilled with the powerful sort – and now rated 125, he is a warm favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes.

He will take the world of beating if given the go-ahead to line up.

Lucky Vega

Sent off at 12-1 for the 2000 Guineas, he surprised a few with his excellent third place.

The son of Lope De Vega took a keen hold before making headway to challenge between Poetic Flare and Master Of The Seas.

Only half-a-length behind the pair at the post, he defied doubts about his stamina over the mile.

Lucky Vega won at the Curragh last August

The speed he showed when scooping a Group 1 the Phoenix Stakes by three-and-a-half lengths last August was electric – and his Middle Park run looks good too when Supremacy was on top form.

It will be interesting to see where trainer Jessica Harrington sends him next.

In Swoop

A likeable type, he was only having the fifth start of his life when running Sottsass close in the Arc last autumn.

His bold effort followed up a solid trial, to cap a fine season in partnership with jockey Ronan Thomas.

He went down by just a neck at Longchamp, when bidding to become the least experienced winner since Treve in 2013.

Trainer Francis Graffard felt the lack of pace was against him, as his typical style was to be chased along early.

He came out of it in such good form, the Japan Cup and Hong Kong Vase were considered before he was put away.

Up there with the best middle-distance performers in Europe, connections will be mulling over a trip to Britain for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – and bookies make him a 12-1 chance.

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