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Top 10 Middlers Heading Into The 2022/23 Racing Season

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Welcome to the best middle-distance horses across Australia and New Zealand heading into the 2022/23 season. Typically, these are the best horses from anywhere between 1350-2000m. It is worth noting that some horses would make this top 10, but we believe they are better suited over other trips and might be included within the stayers rankings, or they just suck. So a horse like Duais typically performs at a high level at 2000m and above whereas Think It Over would be a 2000m and below horse. Unlike some of the other distances, there is a far smaller class gap between the top and bottom of this list.

10. Mr Brightside (5yoG)

Kicking off the list we have Mr Brightside. A highly progressive horse starting the season fresh off a maiden win, but finishing with a G1 win in the Doncaster. Got his first stakes win in the Seymour Cup and was very close in the Cantala. He proved he can match it at WFA with a 4th in the All-Star Mile as well. He is a horse that could very well improve as well being surprisingly, one of the younger horses on this list (which says a bit more about our WFA stocks at the moment)

9. Cascadian (8yoG)

At nine we have Cascadian, a very consisted galloper around the mile. His racing pattern typically limits his ability to rack up wins but he still managed a group 1 in the All-Aged Stakes. He also runs well in almost every race he is in, his 9th in the Doncaster was underrated, coming from last. He was 5th in the All-Star Mile and Australia Cup, 3rd in the CF Orr and won the Peter Young. For the spring, He again ran well In everything he entered. Was placed in the Mackinnon and Cantala, 4th in the Epsom and 5th in the Winx and George Main Stakes, only going down by over 4 lengths once for the season.

8. Western Empire (5yoG)

An ex West Aussie horse I am not sure how to rate comes in at 8 here. While he won the Railway in very impressive fashion, with a lot of ratings guru’s seeing it as a high rating race but he carried equal bottom weight, giving weight at WFA to horses like Kissonallfourcheeks, Too Close To The Sun and Massimo. Comfort Me who came second has since performed quite poorly but Kissonallfourcheeks won a G3 in Vic but again, this does not suggest G1 Superstar. Regal Power (who would be 11th on this list) also beat him in the Kingston Town but I see more room for improvement with Western Empire, plus his first trial was super.

7. Mo’Unga (5yoS)

At seven we have Mo’Unga, who is somewhat of a forgotten horse. He kicked off last season with a G1 win, and had some solid performances again at the top level, in races like the Makybe Diva, Epsom Hcp, Cox Plate and Futurity Stakes but could not break through. Neasham also stated they will be keeping him to the mile, which is a very smart decision as that has always been his best trip, or at least it was last season.

6. Alligator Blood (6yoG)

At five we have both the comeback story and training performance of the year in Alligator Blood. A horse who has most certainly had an eventful career, both on and off the track, it personally makes me very happy to see him back not only running well, but winning a Group 1 is just awesome. It appears as if he will be kept around 1400m to the mile but might step up further if he runs well. Keen to see if he can back up his worldwide campaign.

5. Mugatoo (8yoG)

Entering the top 5 and we have a horse has not had a start since the bloodbath of a race (with injuries and margin) that was the 2021 Doomben Cup. Mugatoo had a huge 2020/21 season, winning the All-Star Mile (off a great ride), a slightly unlucky 4th in the Cox Plate and a 4th in the Doncaster where if you were to normalise to WFA, he probably wins. However, he has been unsighted on the track since besides a few trials. I do wonder if he can get back to his best.

4. I’m Thuderstruck (5yoG)

At 4th we have I’m Thunderstruck, who is about as consistent as they come which is unusual for a get back type but he does typically jump better than your typical one. He picked up just the one group 1 but also a Golden Eagle, but placed in two more group 1s and an All-Star Mile. I am not too sure how much improvement he has left, as when he gets luck, he always seems to perform to a similar level to the eye but he is only just turning 5, maybe he has another level to go to.

3. Zaaki (8yoG)

At 3 we have Zaaki, who was a two-time group 1 plus an all-star mile winner. While he did not come on like some thought he would, he still proved to be one of our best WFA horses this season. His racing style of sitting on pace while not getting unsettled will do him a lot of favours in winning races but the way he ran in the winter up in Queensland makes me suggest he is on the decline.

2. Think It Over (7yoG)

At number two we have Think It Over. While I thought Zaaki had the better season, I believe Think It Over is more likely to hold his form but with him missing the spring due to injury, it is really up in the air. I do think he is a very versatile galloper from 1400-2000m and came alive in the autumn, proving he can also run on the wet.

1. Anamoe (4yoS)

Coming in at 1 we have Anamoe, the only horse to me that has the potential (or at least obvious potential) to become a true WFA horse. He dominated his spring campaign and arguably should have gone undefeated. His autumn was a bit disappointing but had his most impressive win, a 7L romp in the Rosehill Guineas. While his running style will at times let him down, he seems to be one of the few horses in this country with world class WFA potential. I am very glad they did not send him to stud.

Hons: Ayrton, Behemoth, Converge, Espiona/Fangirl (speculative), Imperatriz (NZ), Private Eye, Regal Power, Superstorm.

There are our top 10 middlers. As stated earlier, I do not believe there is a huge gap between these horses and some that missed the list, maybe like 2L at most. Currently, our middle-distance crop is weak and hopefully, some horses can establish themselves to give us something to cheer for. Next will be our top 10 stayers.

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