3.00 Catterick

SUNRAIDER (best price 10/1) showed enough at Chelmsford last time out to suggest brighter times might be around the corner and he’s worth a small speculator in this much weaker race to back up that view. Finding himself detached in the rear in the early part of what was a strongly run race, Paul Midgley’s charge really picked up the bridle in the latter stages, so much so, that he may have finished in the frame had he not hit a wall of horses dropping back into his lap in the final 50yrds. Although he hasn’t won for a while, he does face plenty of dodgy characters this afternoon and he has every chance of bettering his fourth place finish in this race two years ago.

For anyone interested in my 2016 Aintree speed figure service, covering every race, email me at aholding@aol.com

Sunraider - 0.5pt e/w @ 10/1Lost -1pt

3.25 Leopardstown - 5.00 Leopardstown

Both CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (best price Evens) and SHAMREEN (best price 5/4) shaped with immense promise in what looked a useful maiden at the Curragh on the opening day of the Irish flat turf season and are fancied to vindicate the impression they made that day and justify their short odds at the Dublin venue. Despite having the benefit of an outing over this course last season, the former ran very green in that contest won by the potentially smart Embiran and it wasn’t until the latter stages that Aidan O’Brien’s charge came to terms with what was required. The way he finished off his race in the final furlongs suggested he has loads of ability so providing he’s a good deal more streetwise on this occasion, he should take all the beating.

The latter also shaped well in the same race behind her stable mate in the same colours and is likely to be heavily supported to get off the mark at the second time of asking. Until many others in that race at the Co Kildare venue, she wasn’t subjected to a particularly forceful ride and that kindness should be rewarded racing over a distance more in-keeping with her pedigree.

Claudio Monteverdi and Shamreen – 1pt DOUBLE

Claudio Monteverdi - 1pt @ 1/1Won 1pt
Shamreen - 1pt @ 5/4Lost -1pt

6.00 Leopardstown

NEWBERRY NEW (best price 7/1) has enjoyed a fruitful campaign over hurdles during the winter and can take advantage of both fitness and a potentially lenient handicap mark on his return to the level. A solid third in a decent Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last time out, prior to that Jessica Harrington’s inmate had toughed it out to get the better of Voix Du Reve at the same venue and considering that horse would have won the Fred Winter but for falling at the last, it just shows what sort of competition he’s been up against in recent times. As is often the case on soft ground at this venue, the runners tend to race off the inside as the meeting progresses so being drawn in stall 21 of the 22-strong field could turn out to be a blessing for the son of Kodiac and off a mark 8lb lower than when ending last season’s campaign, this improving four-year-old rates a cracking bet around the 7/1 mark.
Newberry New - 1pt e/w @ 7/1Lost -2pt