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In the sport of kings, a horse can show pure class and ability, breaking a track record, winning by close to the length of the straight or carry 5 kilograms more then the rest of the field and do it easily. True champions will justify the short quote the next start and continue to dominate. Then there are those that, well, can run 9th at $1.40, never looking likely and leave punters all over the country scratching their head, vowing never to back them again. These horses are some that have been shown remarkable traits of past champions, and have beaten the benchmark, but haven’t quite lived up to their potential recently. Will we see better in the new year?

Have your say 🗣: Which horses will be Hits or Misses in 2018? Comment below ⬇️

Sheidel

Emerged as potentially the best horse in Western Australia during 2014 and 2015, with an amazing record of 16 starts for 11 wins in WA metro races. Now primarily a Victorian sprinter, Sheidel was also successful in 2016, winning the listed Bel Esprit Stakes and the Group 3 Northwood Plume before finishing runner up to Takedown in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes. It would be the second time Sheidel finished 2nd in a Group 1 in 2016, missing Precious Gem by 0.1L in the Robert Sangster at Morphetville in May. Out of the Hayes and Dabernig stable, the 6-year-old mare’s last victory came almost 12 months ago in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield, beating names such as Extreme Choice, Fell Swoop, Kaepernick and Ocean Embers. Sheidel did not fire for the remainder of 2017, with punters backing her at as low as $2.00 in the Group 3 Heath 1100 in September where she failed to run a place. Sheidel finished the year 9th of 11 in the Skip Sprint over the straight Journey at Flemington, almost 4 lengths behind Lyuba. With a record of 15 wins from 34 starts however, a lot more is expected of the Group 1 winner when she steps out again. Sheidel is undefeated in listed grade, and is 6-times placed at group level.

Russian Revolution

The last horse to beat Everest winner Redzel. Peter and Paul Snowden trained Russian Revolution has an impressive record of 10 starts for 6 wins however finished 2017 in less then imposing fashion, finishing almost 8L second last in the Group 1 Moir Stakes won by She Will Reign. Despite beating the countries best sprinter in the Group 1 Galaxy in March, the 4-year-old did not earn a slot in this year’s Everest after failing to place in both the TJ Smith and Doomben 10,000, with the on-pacer starting a clear favorite on both occasions. Russian Revolution started his career in 2016 with 4 consecutive victories however is just 1 from 5 in Group 1 company, with 2018 shaping up to be a big year for the horse by Snitzel providing he lives up to his potential shown early in his career.

Almandin

The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner owes punters some serious cash after a very big anti climax during the Spring Carnival. The lightly raced 8-year-old won the listed Harry White Classic and the Group 3 Bart Cummings prior to winning last year’s race that stops the nations and looked as if he was set to go back to back after winning the JRA Trophy at Flemington in a canter. Opening at $1.95 for the Bart Cummings, Almandin thieved money from punters in broad daylight, only managing 4th behind Amelie’s Star. For those that forgave the run from the stayer and backed him again for the Melbourne Cup, the news only got worse with Almandin never threatening and finishing midfield, 11.45L off Rekindling and running almost a second slower than his time in 2016. The gelding finished the year starting favorite in the Group 2 Sandown Classic however finished runner up to The Taj Mahal. Should the 8-year-old return this year, punters will be expecting a lot more of the Lloyd Williams owned Group 1 winner.

Prized Icon

Had a very successful Spring Carnival as a 3-year-old and promised big things for the future. Formerly with James Cummings, The now Kris Lees trained horse was placed in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes on his way to winning his 2nd Group 1 in the Victorian Derby. That was way back on the 29th of October 2016, and the now 4-year-old has not won a race since. Remarkably, 2 out of 3 career victories so far for Prized Icon have been in Group 1 races, earning $1,774,100 in 20 starts. Prized Icon placed just twice from 7 starts in 2017, however at just 4 years old can return to his group 1 winning best in 2018. Another punters nightmare, Prized Icon was beaten by just 0.1L when heavily supported at Scone in May last year. The $2.80 starting favorite was beaten by $16 shot France in the Inglis Guineas at Scone over 1400 and last raced at Eagle Farm on the 27th of May. Prized Icon has the potential to return a superstar after the spell but only time will tell.

Hellbent

Hellbent burst onto the scene with consecutive victories in 2015, including a 4-length over Le Romain at Rosehill. The 5-year-old by I Am Invincible was flying in 2016 with 4 good wins, particularly at Caulfield on the 24th of September 2016, where he came from 10th at the 400m mark to defeat Sheidel and Sunday Escape by almost 2.5L. Hellbent was heavily backed in the runs following, starting at $2.15 in the Mumm Stakes at Flemington, and then $2 favorite in the listen Kensington in January 2017, finishing 3rd on both occasions. Trained by Darren Weir, Hellbent has shown a blistering turn of foot and has run some scorching sectionals throughout his career but has been a serial offender in taking punter’s money. Hellbent had every chance for a win in 2017 after finishing runner up in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes at the Valley in March and then placing in the Group 3 Hallmark Stakes behind Redzel in April. This would be the last time Hellbent ran a place however was unlucky in his mist recent run, coming from last to miss by just 0.8L, giving his brave followers just a glimmer of hope in backing him again. 2018 could be the year his investors see a big return, with the Group 1 placed Hellbent beating some of Australia’s best in his colorful career so far.

 
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