Andy Holding concentrates on this evening's action at Naas and Windsor.
The race won by MR RIGHT (best price 6/1)
at the Curragh at the beginning of the month is turning out to be one of the key form lines regarding top-class sprint handicaps over in Ireland so far this season and despite a 7lb hike in the weights for victory in that, Johnny Levin’s charge looks capable of shrugging aside that impost. The feature of that performance at the Co Kildare venue was the ease in which he glided his way through that strong-run contest (best time on the seven race card) and even though he was being run down by the slightly unlucky-in-the-run Master Speaker close home, the eventual narrow margin of victory masks his overall superiority on the field. Based on his performances on the all-weather throughout the winter, the son of Echo Of Light is likely to be better suited by tonight’s sounder surface and from his good middle draw, the four-year-old is expected to right in the thick of the action.
Back in the ruck that day was old pal to this column, IN SALUTEM (best price 11/1)
, and without coming across as potentially staying loyal to this horse at all costs, he did more than enough on his first start of the season to suggest he should have another productive campaign. Blocked several times in the run that day, Ken Condon’s inmate never had a chance to gather up a decent head of steam, but that has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he seems to have been totally overlooked by the bookmakers as a result. At his best when coming off the back of strong fractions over a stiff six furlongs, this race looks tailor made for his natural run-style and this likable and consistent six-year-old has every chance of going one place better than he did in this race last year.
MR RIGHT - 1pt @ 6/1Lost -1pt
IN SALUTEM - 0.5pt e/w @ 11/1Lost -1pt
As a fully paid up member of the FORT DEL ORO (best price 10/3)
fan club, it’ll be fun to see what heights Edward Lynam’s filly can hit now that she’s had plenty of time to mature and develop over the winter. Right from the very beginning, the daughter of Lope De Vega oozed class in her races and such was the regard she was held in at home, she went from winning a maiden at the Curragh straight to tackling Group 3 company in one fell swoop. Having covered herself with glory behind two top-class performers that day, she was understandably sent off a warm order to land her first pattern prize at York on her next outing, but unfortunately for her legion of supporters, she found the combination of fast ground and an on-song Lucky Kristale too hot to handle on the day. She did, however, round off her three-year-old campaign in the best possible style by winning a similar contest back at the Curragh on her final start, and that display should set her up nicely for tougher assignments further down the line.
Although tonight’s five furlong trip is arguably short of her best, she does exhibit the kind of cruising speed in-keeping with a horse that should be capable of coping with the minimum distance and that notion, along with the stiff nature of the track itself, should see this as an ideal starting point for the season ahead. Whatever her fate this evening, she’s certainly in the right hands regarding top class sprinters, and it would come as little surprise if she were to follow in the same footsteps as stable mates, Sole and Slade Power who have been massive players in the sprint division in recent times.
FORT DEL ORO - 1pt e/w @ 10/3Won 4pt
ALL MY LOVE (best price 5/2)
ran an extraordinary race at Doncaster on her seasonal reappearance and will be extremely tough to beat if she runs anywhere near that standard here this evening. Dropped out from her coffin-box draw in stall 20 of 20, Pam Sly’s charge had her back against the wall right from the outset on Town Moor that day, but much to her great credit, she somehow managed to finish within three lengths of the eventual winner, Mr Mischief, who had the luxury of racing much closer to the speed. Delving deeper into her performance, the sectional times she posted compared to the other two round-track winners on the same card, Soldier in Action and Sandro Botticelli, suggests she ran way beyond the expectations of a horse rated 76 and given that the handicapper has chosen to keep her on that mark, it clearly points towards her being extremely leniently treated. On top of that, her previous best performance came over tonight’s C&D back in October, so returning to the scene of that notable success also adds further spice to her chance.
ALL MY LOVE - 2pt @ 5/2Lost -2pt