Racing's Crystal Ball: How TDN Europe Predicts 2023 To Play Out

Oisin Murphy: it's a big year for the jockey | Racingfotos.com

A large part of the fun that comes with following racing and the bloodstock game is predicting the future. Who will win the Derby? Who might top the Orby Sale? What freshman sires are here to stay and which ones will drift into the abyss?

Well, we've looked deep into the TDN Europe crystal ball for 2023 to see if we can come up with the answers to the burning questions for the year ahead. Enjoy!

January

If you think he had a good Christmas, wait until you see how January goes for Willie Mullins. This is the month where Ireland's dominant jumps trainer ramps up a gear, highlighted by Energumene's deadly performance in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot. Can anyone stop Energumene–or Mullins for that matter–at Cheltenham?

Meanwhile, Gordon Elliott appears to have his own festival banker in the shape of Mares' Novice Hurdle hotpot Halka Du Tabert, who makes light work of her rivals in the Solerina Mares' Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse. 

Guess who features among this race's roll of honour? None other than Honeysuckle and Minella Melody. Could the torch be passed to fellow Kenny Alexander-owned Halka Du Tabert?

February

Reassuring figures are recorded at one of the first big Flat sales of the new year, the February Sale, where multiple lots sell for six figures. Maybe 2022 wasn't a dream after all. 

Willie Mullins once again dominates at the Dublin Racing Festival where Honeysuckle's bid for a four-timer in the Irish Champion Hurdle is foiled by State Man, who now appears the chief Irish challenger to Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle. 

Galopin Des Champs dazzles in the Irish Gold Cup, but will he stay the extra two furlongs up the punishing hill at Cheltenham?

March

Did somebody say Flat racing? Aidan O'Brien opens the gates at Ballydoyle to the Irish press and Brendan O'Rourke is back in search of the next two-year-old star to follow this season. “He's by No Nay Never, Brendan. Big Little something, I think he's called,” says Aidan. “A fiver or a tenner,” asks Brendan. 

Constitution Hill proves worthy of all of the hype in the Champion Hurdle by beating Honeysuckle, who runs a tremendous race in the first-time cheekpieces. 

It's easy-as-you-like for Energumene in the Champion Chase but there's a surprise in the Stayers' Hurdle as Ahoy Senor, re-routed from the Gold Cup, denies Flooring Porter a third straight triumph.

It's a one-two-three for team Mullins in the Gold Cup, but it's Emmet who takes the top honours, not his uncle Willie, as Noble Yeats out-battles Galopin Des Champs with Stattler running an eye-catching race with a view towards the Grand National back in third. 

The recently-returned Oisin Murphy shines at the Dubai World Cup meeting. Meanwhile, industry stakeholders begin to get a foothold on what's required for the Dubai Breeze-up Sale as solid trade is recorded. 

April

Don't say you weren't told. Stattler does a Hedgehunter by building on a cracking effort in the Gold Cup to secure Grand National glory at the main expense of Lifetime Ambition. 

Oh yes. We're back, baby. The breeze-up circus gets going with a bang as the international buyers turn out in force for the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale. Tally-Ho Stud sells the top lot, a Kodiac colt, to Peter and Ross Doyle for high six figures. 

Will he or won't he? The build-up to the Craven S. revolves around whether leading 2000 Guineas contender Chaldean will take in a prep or head straight to the Classic. In the end, Andrew Balding elects to sidestep the Craven, describing himself as delighted with Chaldean's condition at home on the gallops. 

May

No prep run? No problem. Balding's decision to go straight to the 2000 Guineas with Chaldean pays off in spades as he romps home at Newmarket. Little Big Bear fails to get involved but Auguste Rodin finishes a fine second for Aidan O'Brien, who goes on to win the 1000 Guineas with Meditate. 

In Chaldean's absence, Little Big Bear justifies O'Brien's faith in the colt's ability to see out the mile as he makes light work of the opposition in the Irish 2,000 Guineas while Dermot Weld's Tahiyra shows a blistering turn of foot to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

It's that man again. Willie Browne tops the Arqana breeze-up sale with a colt sourced in America the previous autumn. 

June

Aidan O'Brien wins the Oaks with a filly who failed to win as a two-year-old while the Guineas runner-up Auguste Rodin takes the step up to 1m4f in his stride by running out one of the most impressive Derby winners for some time. 

It's a week for the first-season sires at Royal Ascot as colts by Ten Sovereigns and Soldier's Call win the Coventry and Norfolk S. respectively while an Inns Of Court filly lands the Queen Mary S. 

Kyprios runs out one of the most impressive winners of the week to take his second Gold Cup. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Sakheer dazzles in the Commonwealth Cup, once again advertising the prowess of breeze-up handler Willie Browne. 

Back at the Curragh, Aidan O'Brien records a record-extending 15th Irish Derby triumph.

July

Auguste Rodin had the option of bidding for the Derby double at the Curragh but he proves himself to be equally as adept back over 10f in bolstering the good record that three-year-olds have in the Coral-Eclipse S. at Sandown. 

Remember him? Desert Crown makes his long awaited return to the track in the King George at Ascot but he is no match for Vadeni who appears a much stronger horse this year and sees the trip out well.  

The demand for horses with good ratings remains strong at the July Sale at Tattersalls while, on the track, Sakheer follows up his brilliant display at Royal Ascot with a red-hot performance in the July Cup. 

August

After running a number of classy races against the boys, Dramatised causes something of a surprise for local owner Steve Parkin and trainer Karl Burke in the Nunthorpe S. at York.

September 

He never managed to win the St Leger as a jockey but he does it as a trainer. Step forward Donnacha O'Brien. Proud And Regal, indeed.

Goffs captures the imagination with its latest incentive to attract buyers and vendors alike to the Orby, which continues to go from strength to strength. A number of New Bay and Mehmas colts sell nicely while Saxon Warrior hardens his reputation as a coming force in the stallion ranks with his progeny selling for notable sums.

October 

No match for Alpinista 12 months ago, Vadeni wins the Arc from stablemate Al Hakeem with Bay Bridge keeping on best for third.

Book 1 does not disappoint at Tattersalls with 10 lots breaking the million gns mark, including Philip Stauffenberg's Kingman half-brother to Skitter Scatter, who he picked up for €550,000 at Goffs the previous November. 

But the top lot is a 3 million gns colt consigned by Watership Down and it sells to Mick Donohoe, bidding on his iPad for Yulong, with MV Magnier and Anthony Stroud pushing him all the way. 

The weather Gods do not look kindly on British Champions Day as the meeting is a washout and the testing ground throws up a number of surprise results. 

November 

It's a first Melbourne Cup victory for Willie Mullins as Champion Hurdle also-ran Vauban builds on his Queen Alexandra S. victory at Royal Ascot to take the race that stops a nation.

Nothing can separate Aidan O'Brien and Charlie Appleby once again at the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita as both men send out five winners apiece. Special mention to Modern Games, who secures his third Breeders' Cup triumph and second Breeders' Cup Mile success. 

December

There must be something in the water. Tally-Ho Stud clinches its third first-season sire championship in four years as Inns Of Court does what Mehmas and Cotai Glory did before him by producing the goods with his first crop of runners. It was an incredibly-strong year for the freshman sires with Soldier's Call, Ten Sovereigns, Too Darn Hot, Advertise and Blue Point achieving plenty.

Some extra dates are added to the farewell tour as Frankie Dettori announces his decision to continue his riding career for another season. 

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