Your guide to the 2021 Flat annuals
We look at this year’s offerings to help you find winners in the 2021 Flat season
After the usual stuttering start of the Flat with the Lincoln (we then we seem to go into a short hibernation) things are now hotting up especially with Newmarket’s Craven meeting on the horizon. It also means there’s a plethora of information on the new season and horses to follow, spearheaded by the annual guides to Flat racing, which we look at here.
But, we start off on a sad note – the Racing & Football Outlook Guides appear to be no more. The 20/21 jumps guide fell victim to Covid and an edition for the 2021 Flat season hasn’t appeared. We do, however, have a new guide for this year’s Flat from Weatherbys.
Racing Post Guide to the Flat 2021
At the heart of the Post’s guide is an A to Z of 100 horses, from A Case Of You to Zakouski, who can make their mark this season. To fit in so many potential winners, each horse has a form summary, its RP Rating, and a 50-word profile.
The book kicks off with 10 lengthy interviews with trainers, a good mix of the established, such as Hugh Morrison, and the up-and-coming including George Boughey. The handlers discuss their strings and there are asides on trainer/jockey partnerships, winning strike-rates, and stats for each trainer’s record at Flat racecourses.
After the trainers, it’s the turn of the Racing Post experts, with Alan Sweetman providing the view from Ireland, Scott Burton on the best from France and a look at global challengers from Nicholas Godffey.
Tom Collins assesses the chances of last season’s star names who have remained in training, Nick Watts has an early ante-post take on the classics, and Paul Kealey puts forward 10 names who should make it pay during the Flat season.
Away from predicting the future, Richard Birch looks back at his racecourse punting days and what he’s missed during repeated lockdowns.
To finish things off, the Post guide sets out the RP Ratings and Topspeed figures for last season’s best performers.
As ever, the Post guide is a good package of features and the 100 key horses but, if you want to read about horses, albeit fewer, at length you’ll have to go elsewhere.
Racing Post Guide to the Flat 2021, £12.99
Timeform Horses to Follow 2021 Flat Season
It’s straight into Timeform’s 50 to follow, with 300+ word essays for each, with ratings and a conclusion on how each horse is likely to fulfill its potential in the new season.
Ten of the horses have been singled out for a shorter list and members of the Timeform team pick their preferred candidates. Ten more Irish-trained horses receive similar treatment.
A dozen trainers select their stable’s star performer, handicap prospect and dark horse, whilst more space is devoted to profiling four rising stars of the trainers’ ranks.
Timeform’s feature writer John Ingles assesses the ante-post markets for this year’s first four classics and there’s also a look at those jockeys who are candidates for champion jockey. Also coming under the microscope are this year’s first season sires.
Another angle is adopted by looking at the form of last year’s key juvenile races before picking out last season’s best juveniles and older horses in sprint, mile, middle-distance and stayer categories.
The Timeform guide is one that requires reading rather than dipping in and out of in order to get the best from it but it has the clarity you’d expect from the Halifax stable.
Timeform Horses to Follow 2021 Flat Season, £10.95
Wetherbys Flat Horses to Follow 2021
The Wetherbys guide is the new kid on the block albeit that it was available in digital form last year and makes its debut in print for the 2021 season.
It encompasses 45 horses, with 40, including Irish-trained, each receiving a full-page entry, although much of the space is taken up with trainer photos and owners’ colours. The horses are arranged by age groups, which are interspersed with Paul Ferguson’s five to follow, contenders for the classics, and the horses which topped the sales in 2020.
It’s the more modest offering of the three annuals, albeit it’s strong on design and graphics, with fewer horses considered, no input from trainers and lacking in stats and ratings.
Wetherbys Flat Horses to Follow 2021, £10.95
♦Don’t miss Doug Campbell’s 50 three-year-old horses to Follow here on The Racing Hub