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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Six to follow
By Elizabeth Hudson

Bandari (4-y-o)

A four-year-old who is out for improvement this year despite some notable wins already.

Bandari on his way to victory in 2002
Bandari has already been in the winners' enclosure

Victories in the Lingfield Derby Trial, the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and the Great Voltigeur Stakes in York might have been a successful season in some people's eyes, but not trainer Mark Johnston.

But the colt flopped in the Derby itself and could only manage third when hot favourite for the St Leger, leading Johnston to state he he is capable of better this year

He is said to be a difficult animal to train and has a tendency to get a bit edgy but Johnston still rates him highly.

Johnston also says Bandari may drop in distance to a mile and a quarter and go for the newly devised Summer Triple Crown although a mile and a half is also an option.

The Coronation Cup at Epsom is likely to be his next target after a disappointing run in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.


Hawk Wing (4-y-o)

One of last year's unluckiest horses with four second places over the campaign, including in the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby.

He bounced back from Classic disappointment with victory at Sandown in the Eclipse Stakes in July.

However, trainer Aidan O'Brien admits to being a little concerned that last season's exertions may have left their mark, although Hawk Wing has grown up.

"Most horses that race at four are not asked to do as much at three as they were, but both Hawk Wing and High Chaparral are in great form and have been working well," O Brien admits.

He is another horse who looks like targeting the Triple Crown and his devastating display when winning the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury by 11 lengths proved he is a rival to fear.

Royal Ascot looks to be the next target.


Bourbonnais (3-y-o)

Bourbonnais, ridden by Kevin Darley
Much is expected of Bourbonnais this year

After a successful campaign last year with Mark Johnston, including the listed Acomb Stakes at the Ebor meeting at York, Bourbonnais is now part of the Godolphin stable.

On his reappearance for Saeed bin Suroor in the UAE 2,000 Guineas, he was partnered by Frankie Dettori and finished third behind Desert Moon.

Desert Moon claimed his scalp again in the UAE Derby but hopes are high that the three-year-old can make an impression over the English summer.

While perhaps not in the same league as stablemate Lateen Sails, the son of Singspiel could still claim a notable victory or two.

He has entries in the Dante Stakes at York with Epsom and Royal Ascot other possibilities.


Nasij (3-y-o)

An early-season victory in the Masaka Stakes at Kempton has marked the Ed Dunlop-trained filly as one to watch for the season.

Richard Hills rides Nasij to victory
Nasij was a winner at Newmarket in April

The trainer has endured problems over the past couple of seasons with ill health hitting the stable but they seem to be over the worst now.

Nasij had five runs last year with one victory and a third place in the May Hill which Dunlop admits could have been better if the horse had not been held up for so long.

Dunlop believes she will stay further than the one mile of the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks is a possible target but the trainer is keeping his options open.


Chai Walla (4-y-o)

An impressive winner of the Babraham Handicap on his seasonal reappearance during the Craven Meeting at Newmarket in April.

The four-year-old made his racing debut with victory by a neck at Folkestone last August and followed that up with two second places at Doncaster.

Trainer Henry Cecil was delighted after the horse took a step up in trip at Newmarket and secured his first victory of the season.

However the horse had been raised 3lb following his second behind Red Wine at Doncaster and may have a tricky time with the handicapper over the coming months.

He could now be ready for races over a mile-and-a-half and has been entered in the Yorkshire Cup at York in mid-May.


Domedriver (5-y-o)

Domedriver ended the winning run of Rock of Gibraltar with victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington in October last year.

Domedriver won the Breeders' Cup Mile
Domedriver was a surprise winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile

In 2002, the Pascal Bary-trained colt had three victories and two seconds in his six runs with all but the Breeders' Cup appearance on French soil.

Stable insiders say the horse has wintered well and is in excellent form, and Bary is now eyeing victory on this side of the English Channel.

The horse could make an appearance at the season's first two Group One mile contests open to older horses - the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Depending on how that goes, the Breeders' Cup Mile looks like being the long-term aim for the season but British racegoers will look at progress with interest.




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