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Top 10 Hype Horses Heading Into The 2022 Spring

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Welcome to another top 10, this one being the top 10 hype horses heading into the 2022 spring carnival. Now what defines a hype horse? One could say a hype horse is one that is a progressive horse, who has looked at times dominant through the grades building a string of wins or very impressive outings. Typically, these horses have not won G1 races although there are some exceptions. Lastly, these horses are also typically shorter in futures markets compared to other horses of a similar calibre.

10. Hezashocka

At 10 is Hezashocka and it is easy to see why with his flashy turn of foot and potential upside. His most recent win came when he defeated two horses which were reasonably hyped up, in D'Aguilar and Mankayan doing it from the rear as usual, but was carrying less weight. Does seem to be on the improve though so will be a fun watch in the spring.

Prediction: I do think the Caulfield Cup will be weak this year but he still needs to qualify, let alone win. Unlikely but a maybe.

9. Point Nepean

At 9 is a Lloyd Williams lightly raced stayer on the up who already has a slot in the cup, need I say more. A horse with that profile will always have hype and for good reason due to Lloyds track record in the race. He won the Andrew Ramsden in reasonably strong fashion, but I am not sure on the form from that race, as while THrough Irish Eyes placed in a G2, it was a very weak Brisbane Cup and flopped when he returned to open grade staying form. He will get in light though and typically, this race is a reasonable indicator.

Prediction: Could run a top 8 in the Melb Cup but hard to see him placing or even winning. Hosier seemed the better of the two and while that might not be the case anymore, hard to see him delivering on high expectations.

8. Huetor

At 8 is a group 1 winner in Huetor who normally would not fit the bill as a hype horse but he is very short across all markets (Same price as 3 time G1 winner Duais in the Cox Plate) and beating Zaaki would do that. It was also an off-season group 1 so we will see how he competes en route to the Cox Plate. He has had a strong start to his career in Australia, winning 4 of 7 flying up the grades in that time.

Prediction: Will not measure up against our WFA horses, even though it is not a strong scene. He beat Zaaki but it is clear that Zaaki was not at his best and with horses like Maximal and Great House running in close behind, it is hard to imagine him becoming a Cox Plate horse. Might sneak a very weak G1 though.

7. Star Patrol

At 7 is Star Patrol, an impressive 3yo who came alive after being transferred to Clinton McDonald, winning 3 and a second against a horse we will see later. I believe in defeat, he was more impressive that race, losing by only 1L carrying 3kgs more. It seems the stable have lofty ambitions and may head towards the Champions Sprint or Manikato so we will see how he goes at lower level group quality before.

Prediction: Could be competitive in a Manikato but with a horse like Rothfire potentially running, probably more of a place chance but jury is definitely out. A maybe.

6. Tuvalu

At 6 we have Tuvalu. It is clear this horse has always had ability, with a solid 2nd to I'm Thunderstruck around this time last year. A horse who has never left the quinella, Tuvalu managed to culminate his prep winning the Listed Winter Championship which was a hot field. The form was clearly strong, as the trifecta ran 3rd and 4th the start prior against Tuvalu, with Visinari splitting them, who has strong form as well.

Prediction: Will deliver on the hype and prove to be G1 handicap quality. A race like the Toorak seems to be perfect for him and can see a very strong showing.

5. Passive Aggressive

At 5 we have Passive Aggressive, who has now won 4/4, resulting in a Listed win over the aforementioned Star Patrol who she gave weight to. While she has not a foot wrong, I look to Marabi as a comparison. Marabi is a bit freakish but Passive Aggressive's times and margins were not quite as strong however, she is younger which suggests a larger scope of improvement but that may not always be the case:

Prediction: Will be competitive in lower grade group races but will not measure up in G1s in the Spring. Autumn races like the Oakleigh Plate or more specifically, the Sangster will be her best chances at G1s.

4. In The Boat

In The Boat comes in at 4 and with an impressive 7 wins from 11 starts and 6 of those coming from his last 7 with his only loss in that time coming over 1400m. His most impressive win came in the country discovery, putting over 5 on Halvorsen and Lombardo, the Goodwood quinella as well as beating second, who was Brooklyn Hustle by 2.75L. According to racing dot com, the time was also 7.5L above standard time showing this horse has serious ability.

Prediction: Can win a G1 and deliver on the hype and the Winterbottom which they are targeting would be perfect for him.

3. Hoo Ya Mal

At number 3 we have an international horse purchased by Australian interests so no surprise it is hyped, but he comes off a 3rd in the English Derby which is always a strong race. Trainer had queries around him getting to 2400m and watching him run, that seems to be his limit but the English St Leger will be more telling. I am also unsure of the English Derby/Oaks crop outside of Desert Crown with horses like Westover and Emily Upjohn flopping against the older horses, but Torquator and Pyledriver are definitely some of the best 2000-2400m horses in the world.

Prediction: I am tipping he will find the Melbourne Cup a bridge too far, but if they decided to head to the Caulfield Cup, I could see him winning that if they choose to head that way.

2. Mazu

At number 2 we have Mazu, who has already won a G1, somewhat defeating the purpose of being a hype horse but it was an off-season G1 and he is receiving very high levels of hype, fitting for this list and fits the progressive model. He has currently won 6 on the trot, coming on surfaces from Good 4 to Heavy 10 showing his versatility although he does prefer it wet.

Prediction: Could win a weaker G1 but the Everest seems out of reach although, he is progressive.

1. Illation

At number 1 we have easily the most hyped horse heading into the spring, Illation. Hyped horses always have a habit of coming from this stable I have noticed. Illation is 3/3 winning 2 listed races and a maiden by a combine total of over 9 lengths. His effort in the Port Adelaide Guineas was better than the margin suggests but against a field of that quality, he should be performing better.

Prediction: He does not deliver on the hype. He could maybe sneak a race like a Toorak but to the eye, Ayrton and I'm Thunderstruck seemed far better comparatively. I think the Golden Eagle is a bridge too far but could maybe sneak a G1 Hcp, but even then I think he is unlikely.

Honourable mentions:

I would like to quickly shout out a few horses who once had a stack of hype that may have either flopped, not performed quite to expectations or won a big race but may still have some hype around them. Those being Maximal, Profondo, Crystal Pegasus and Top Ranked. I would also like to mention Extremely Lucky, who fits the bill but has burst on the scene quite late and probably is more of an autumn prospect.

There you have 10 of the most hyped horses heading into the spring. I am predicting only two individual G1 winners in the spring/summer, as it seems an inferior batch of hype horses compared to this time last year, but maybe a few can surprise.

Deliver: In The Boat, Tuvalu

Maybe/Unlikely: Mazu, Hoo Ya Mal, Star Patrol, Hezashocka Flop: Illation, Passive Aggressive*, Huetor, Point Nepean

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