Andy Holding has been in cracking for this week so be sure to check out today's advice.
Connections of ROCK GONE (best price 10/3)
must have been delighted with the way their charge shaped on his seasonal return at Plumpton 19 days ago and that initial outing should put him somewhere near fever-pitch for a race in which there appears to be one or two creaking limbs. Although eight himself, he can hardly be described as a veteran with only seven races under his belt and there’s an argument to be made that Dr Newland’s charge is actually improving based on his latest effort. The horse that beat him at the Sussex venue, Billy No Name, can also be marked up as a progressive type and as the winning time indicated that day, the pair could be a little way ahead of the handicapper.
Rock Gone - 1pt @ 10/3Lost -1pt
GALA BALL (best price 7/1)
is improving at a rapid rate of knots and he doesn’t look on too stiff a mark for his handicap debut based on his most recent performances. His latest victory, although a hard-fought one, proved that he can knuckle down and battle once the gloves are off in the closing stages and being one of the few in this race still with plenty of upside, Philip Hobbs’ inmate should make a bold fist of trying to pull off a quick hat-trick with ground in his favour.
Gala Ball - 1pt e/w @ 7/1Won 8.4pt
FAULKNER (best price 8/1)
would have gained plenty of confidence following his well-deserved success over the C&D last time out and he is taken to put the wind up one or two more illustrious rivals in this Group 1 prize. Although it was only a handicap he landed here 16 days ago, the race contained plenty of top-class dirt performers and as the winning time indicated, Doug Watson’s charge is certainly edging towards the sort of level needed to mix it against the very best on this surface.
Faulkner - 0.5pt e/w @ 8/1Placed 0.3pt
As ever, when the big southern yards send their horse on a raiding party up north, bookmakers tend to run for cover and price those runners accordingly, and that has turned out to be the case here with the first three in the betting all hailing from powerful stables representing Messrs Skelton, Fry and Nicholls. They might, however, not have things all their own way as the market suggest up against two useful sorts representing the home guard in the shape of LAKE VIEW LAD (best price 5/1)
and THE DUTCHMAN (best price 14/1)
. The former would have probably beaten the latter when they first met back in early January but for tipping up at the last, and he’s subsequently gone on to prove what a useful prospect he is with victories back at the same track and at Wetherby last time out under a penalty. The fact that he goes well under testing conditions and stays strong are two major positives towards his chances today and he should easily outrun his odds of 5/1. The Dutchman has also improved since that initial defeat by Nick Alexander’s charge to go on and score tidily at Wetherby and although he might not have as much latent class as some of those ahead of him in the betting, today’s test might just suit his skillset more than others.
Lake View Lad - 1pt @ 5/1Non Runner
The Dutchman - 0.5pt @ 14/1Non Runner
In what looks one of the most competitive contests run on the all-weather for some time, virtually all of the field can be given some sort of chance and that includes the rank outsider according to the betting, JAADU (best price 40/1)
. Highly regarded enough by connections to take his chance in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting following a smooth win in a competitive nursery at Glorious Goodwood, Mick Channon’s charge failed to live up to that lofty entry when only managing to finish mid-field behind Recorder and he was duly roughed off for the winter. Gelded in the interim and looking as though the time off the track and done him the world of good, the son of Holy Roman Emperor made a pleasing start to his three-year-old career with an encouraging display on his comeback run at Wolverhampton 15 days ago. Despite being extremely keen and fresh and with no cover in the early stages, this imposing sort still managed to produce one of his best efforts when making the strongly fancied Dream Mover pull out all the stops at the Dunstall Park venue. Encouragingly, the form has already received a huge boost when the third-placed horse, Bear Faced, scored at Dundalk last night and with the potential of even better to come in a more conventionally run race, the selection is easily expected to outrun both his current rating and extremely generous-looking price of 40/1.
Jaadu - 0.5pt e/w @ 40/1Placed 3.5pt