There was plenty to enjoy during the 2012 flat racing season and it is tough to know where to begin when reviewing the campaign. There were so many highlights and it is a difficult job to get it down to a top-five moments, although any review can only really start in one place and that it is with the magnificent Frankel.....
1. Frankel wins the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot
Well, where do you start? Unbeaten in 14 starts, including victory in the Lockinge Stakes and Queen Anne to start his 2012 campaign, followed by a successful defence when 1/20 favourite in the Sussex Stakes and a seven-length romp with trainer Sir Henry Cecil at his side in the Juddmonte International at York. It is the stuff of fairytales and the exceptional colt rounded off his career by proving his class in any conditions when winning the Champion Stakes on the most testing ground he has ever experienced before being retired to stud.
Of those five wins during 2012 it is his 11-length romp at Royal Ascot that stands above the rest. It has been described as one of the great performances as Frankel came up against quality horses like Excelebration and Strong Suit at Royal Ascot. He blew them out of the water though as he justified 1/10 odds on favouritism and positioned himself firmly among the pantheon of greats in flat racing.
2. Black Caviar wins the Diamond Jubilee
The 2012 Royal Ascot meeting was a very special time for horse racing as race goers got the opportunity to see the great Frankel and the much-vaunted Australian wonder mare Black Caviar. Few could remember a time when a foreign horse had garnered as much interest as Black Caviar and she didn't disappoint when making her first appearance outside of Australia,
Trainer Peter Moody left nothing to chance as Black Caviar wore a specially designed compression suit for the flight from Australia to England, although her jockey Luke Nolen nearly put a spanner in the works. Nolen began to ease up to early after the mare had dominated but she managed to see off Moonlight Cloud by a head in the end and in doing so she extended her winning run to an astonishing 22 races.
3. Camelot wins the Epsom Derby
Aidan O'Brien's Camelot caught the imagination by winning the 2,000 Guineas by a neck before landing the Epsom Derby. The colt romped to a five-length win to justify 8/13 favouritism with the bookies and it opened up the tantalising prospect of a crack at the Triple Crown. The Derby win alone was worthy of a place in the top-five for opening up the possibility of a run in the St Leger.
Camelot duly took up his engagement at Doncaster but fell short of becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970 as he lost byÂ Â¾ length to Encke. A subsequent seventh in the Arc has raised questions about how good Camelot really is, although we will always have memories of that Derby win and O'Brien maintains he is the best horse he has ever trained.
4. Homecoming Queen wins the 1,000 Guineas
It is another from O'Brien's yard that caught the eye in 2012, albeit all too briefly. Homecoming Queen had gone in to the 1,000 Guineas as an outside chance at 25/1 and she was originally put in the race as a pacemaker for her more fancied stablemate Maybe. However, Homecoming Queen had ideas of her own as she cruised to a nine-length win to produce a real shock. The win looks to have been a fluke as she was defeated in her next two outings before being retired but she will forever be remembered for her stunning Guineas win.
5. Dawn Approach wins the Dewhurst Stakes
Dawn Approach is one of the most exciting 2-year-old colts around and was recently named as the best juvenile of 2012. It wouldn't be a surprise to be talking about Dawn Approach in the top-five moments of next year but it is his heroics during 2012 that have earned him a spot this time.
Jim Bolger's colt has won all six of his career starts, including the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but it was his success in the Dewhurst at Newmarket which really caught the eye. He went off a 3/10 favourite in his final start of the season in October and he edged out Olympic Glory by Â¾ length to hand Bolger a fifth Dewhurst winner. The victory ensured Dawn Approach's place as one of the leading fancies for the 2013 Classics, including the 2,000 Guineas.
|Start Of Flat Season Dominates Predicted 1m Scoop6|
Racing From Doncaster, Kempton And Chelmsford
|Gabrials Kaka tipped for glory in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster|
Mange All Heads The Betting For Turf Season Opener
|California Chrome To Start Favourite In Exciting Dubai World Cup Odds|
Prince Bishop Could Offer Each Way Value At Meydan
|Shutthefrontdoor heads the Grand National betting after 13 defect from Aintree showpiece|
74 Possibles Remain For The National On 11th April
|Saturdays Scoop 6 Preview Pepite Rose to storm to victory at Newbury|
Spookydooky And Gimme Five Just Two Of Our Selections
|The Druids Nephew slashed for Grand National after Cheltenham win|
Pineau De Re Primed For Aintree Return After Pertemps Run
|Saturdays Scoop 6 selections feature a win for Grendisar in the Winter Derby|
Scoop 6 Includes Midlands Grand National
|Catching On heads the betting for Midlands Grand National|
Woodford County Can Feature In Uttoxeter Marathon
|Paint The Clouds to storm to Foxhunter Chase glory for Greatrex|
Jolly's Cracked It An Each-way Player In Martin Pipe
|Bookmakers expect Black Hercules to be too strong in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle|
Value At Risk The Each Way Tip
|Quevega Installed As World Hurdle Following Injury To Big Bucks|
Al Ferof also out for season reports Nicholls
|Leopardstown Christmas Festival Betting Preview Flemenstar Favourite For The Lexus Chase|
Betting is wide open for Paddy Power Chase
|The Ladbroke Betting Preview Alan Kings Balder Success A Marginal Favourite For Ascot|
King landed Ascot handicap hurdle with Raya Star in 2011
|2013 Champion Hurdle Betting Preview Grandouet On The Move Following Return At Cheltenham|
Hurricane Fly leads the way in wide open market
|Zarkandar Clipped In The Latest Champion Hurdle Betting Following International Hurdle Success|
Grandouet also on the move after taking second
|Burton V Stevenage Odds The Brewers Bid For A Fifth Win On The Bounce|
Table Toppers Favourites At The Pirelli Stadium
|Israel V Belgium Odds Christian Benteke Heads The First Scorer Betting In Jerusalem|
Belgium Odds On For A Group B Win
|Bet On Kane Being Able To Get On The Scoresheet Again During Tuesdays Italy V England Friendly|
Two Nations Meet At The Juventus Stadium In Turin
|Wales Are Now Odds On To Qualify For Euro 2016 After Romping To Victory In Israel|
England Clipped In The Betting To Win Euro 2016
Ladbrokes are one of the highest rated online bookmakers in the UK and are a superb choice for placing your bets. You can claim a free bet of up to £25 when opening a new account with Ladbrokes by clicking on one of the links on this site.
Open Account - £25 Free Bet - Ladbrokes
Those looking for some online casino entertainment ought to check out all the latest UK Casino Sign Up offers from the top operators including 32Red and many of the sports betting casinos.
There is excellent information, should you be interested in playing online blackjack, roulette, the best progressives or slots - Online Casino Betting with the best introductory offers