A blagger’s guide to the races: Top 5 horses to watch in 2016

Here at Vada we’re a diverse, cosmopolitan lot. We entertain a wide range of interests – from wrestling to comics to fashion to science fiction – but always with our own unique slant. We understand that our readers are a sophisticated bunch with as many interests as there are individuals.

Today we’re indulging that gentlemanly pastime (although it’s worth pointing out that a gentleman need be neither male nor manly) of horse racing.

In the past we’ve served up a style guide for Cheltenham and a guide to the best events at Ascot. So you can at least attend the races looking good and making sure you go to all the best events.

But what about the horses themselves? Taking a punt on whichever name takes your fancy is one way to get involved, but it’s not one that shows a particularly nuanced knowledge of horse racing.

If you really want to fit in, then, you’ll need some insider tips to help you out. Keeping an eye on the form of a racehorse can give you a pretty good estimate of how they will perform in the upcoming season.

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While it’s not an exact science, many of the really good racers will hold a pretty steady form for you to rely upon and then you get the wildcards – horses which have previously stayed in the pack but pull it out of the bag on the big occasions and beat the horse racing odds.

Here we have compiled a list of five horses to keep an eye out for in 2016. Whether you’re just making a friendly bet with friends or something more serious, these tips should give you some idea of which horses to look out for.

1. Chautauqua

You may have heard a lot about this horse last season as he has previously won at group one level and amassed a huge total of race winnings equalling nearly $4,000,000. He is a five-year-old grey-bay gelding whose biggest win was at the Royal Randwick in April 2015.

Throughout last year, Chautauqua kept up a steady stream of wins and places and seems to be taking that good from through to 2016 with third place at Flemmington on 12 March and a win at Flemmington on 20 February.

Chautauqua has proved himself a formidable and steady horse with a consistent track record for high finishes and wins.

2. Exosphere

Exosphere is a three-year-old bay colt trained by John O’Shea and is regarded as an elite class of racehorse with winnings of over $1,000,000. He is an exciting horse to watch and whilst his form isn’t one of the most consistent, he certainly can pull it out of the bag when it matters.

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In September last year, ridden by James McDonald, Exosphere finished first in the Golden Rose beating the favoured Speak Fondly to the ribbon.

McDonald and Exosphere appear to be a great combination with many of Exosphere’s wins being while ridden by the jockey. So there’s a team to look out for in 2016.

3. Winx

A 4-year-old bay mare, Winx has proven herself a solid racehorse. Her biggest win came near the end of last year in October when she beat Criterion to first place in the William Hill Cox Plate race at Moonee Valley. She has begun 2016 very much as she finished 2015 with three first-place finishes already.

She appears to run best on good ground, which is something to consider if you are keeping track of her progress this year.

4. Rangipo

Rangipo has had one of the best starts to 2016 with four first-place wins since January.

This three-year-old gelding male comes from fantastic heritage as he was sired by the stallion Stryker out of the dam Holloway. Rangipo has seen steady improvement in his race throughout last year and has started 2016 off with a bang.

He is definitely a hot horse to watch as if his progress remains consistent, you will see him finishing in the top three time and time again.

5. Blizzard Belle

Now this horse really is the wildcard of 2016 so far. The six-year-old South African horse has a much less distinguished heritage than many of its competitors; however with wins from its last six races, Blizzard Belle has come from nowhere to storm the field.

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On the 5 February, Blizzard Belle won the Pinnacle Stakes at Fairview beating It’s A Rush to win the number one spot. This horse may have sneaked in under the radar but it should definitely be on your watch list from now on so keep an eye out for Blizzard Belle at the big meets this year.