It's a busy day of racing and our resident pundit has six bets to get your teeth into.
SOUTHDOWN LAD (best price 14-1) could have done with a slightly better draw, but other than that small negative, he has all the right credentials for a race of this nature and is worth chancing at the price he can overcome box 16. A winner over today’s track at the backend as a two-year-old, William Knight’s inmate had the King George Handicap at Royal Ascot as his big mid-season target, but he was forced to miss that particular gig due to an infection. Back in action after a break at Newbury last time, the son of Lilbourne Lad exhibited a nice turn of foot to get the better of several strongly-fancied rivals and although that performance – along with one or two others – came on a soft surface, connections believe their charge will be equally at home on today’s better ground.
TAOPIX (best price 11-4) has clearly taken a liking to today’s newly-laid Tapeta surface and although he failed to follow up his previous success back in August here seven days ago, he lost nothing in defeat in chancing home The Resdev Way – who is clearly better than his mark at present. The nice thing about that effort from Karen Mclintock’s charge is that he finished well clear of the rest of field and although the handicapper has seeked to gain some sort of retribution, the fact that he acts so well on the track and stays well counts more than the bare weights and measures.
On the same card last seven days ago, AJMAN PRINCE (best price 14-1) served notice that he may be capable of winning a race on this surface and although he has the potential to become a bit of a cliff horse, he’s worth another stab in the dark at the prices. Once again he was noted doing some nice late work in a decent 1m2f contest and on that evidence, connections are wise to send him up in trip to see what he can achieve over further.
In what looks a pretty modest race to say the least, VEIL OF STARS (best price 8-1) has to be worth a few units to find out whether she can build on her promising performance here last time out. Having only her second run of her career and first on Polytrack, Richard Brabazon’s charge was noted doing some good late work in the closing stages of a decent maiden won by the potentially very useful all-weather prospect, Cenotaph, and with the time figure of the race stacking up nicely in comparison to the rest of the card that day, it was by no means a bad effort on her behalf. Nicely drawn in trap one with the hood on for the first time, the daughter of Vale Of York should be capable of a reasonable display with just normal improvement.
LEO MINOR (NAP) (best price 7-2) was more than a shade unlucky not to land a competitive Group 3 contest at the Curragh last time out and having missed one or two recent engagements due to unsuitable soft ground, Aidan O’Brien’s charge can gain some compensation back on a decent surface. All dress up with nowhere to go at the Co Kildare venue 48 days ago, the son of War Front was heavily eased once his winning chance had gone, but being as he seemed full of running at the time, it’s fairly safe to say he would have probably taken that prize with a clear run. Prior to that unfortunate episode, he’d finished a creditable third to the useful pair Sea Of Grace and Ezira (first and second in the Flame of Tara Stakes subsequently) over the extended 7f at Tipperary and a repeat of that sort of form should make him extremely hard to beat here.
The finishing kick of IFTITAH (best price 13-8) was way too much for the rest of his opponents to handle at Chelmsford last time out and providing he can convert that sort of level of ability to the Tapeta surface at the first time of asking, he should have every chance of following up. Held up out of his ground at the Essex venue, George Peckham’s charge fairly rattled home once in the home straight and taking his finishing split of 36.4 from the three pole and comparing it to the rest of the card, he clearly is much better than his current handicap mark would suggest.