Andy Holding bids to get the week off to a flying start with four bets from around the tracks.
GREEN HOWARD (best price 6-1), rated in the 90’s in his prime, has dropped down to a lenient-looking mark of 72 and on the evidence of his latest display at Pontefract, he appears primed to take advantage of that slippage. Nicely backed at the Yorkshire venue, Rebecca Bastiman’s inmate was seemingly full of running rounding the home bend, but just when he needed a bit of luck at that juncture, he got the door constantly slammed in his face. At the same time, the eventual winner, Mr Cool Cash, got a beautiful trouble-free run round the outside and by the time the son of Bahamian Bounty had extricated himself from the pocket, the bird had well and truly flown. Clearly in decent form based on that unlucky effort, the eight-year-old can roll back the years at a track he’s already shown a liking for in the past.
In a race dominated by horses better known for their exploits over hurdles, PLAIN TALKING (best price 8-1) rates the most interesting runner from that category off her current handicap mark. Arriving here off the back of several quality performances over timber during the summer jumping period, Gavin Cromwell’s charge worked her way up from an opening perch of 97 to the 121 rating she find herself on after a fruitful and fairly busy campaign. The pick of the performances came when she claimed a valuable and competitive mares’ only prize at the Galway festival back in July and although she’s failed to add to that tally in three subsequent tries, she’s still managed to hit the frame each time. Last seen on the Flat when down the field in a handicap at Killarney back in August 2015, the daughter Primary returns to this discipline off a 6lb lower mark and given the level of improvement she has shown in the interim, it would be disappointing if she fails to exploit what looks a golden opportunity.
MAROC (best price 5-1) left the impression he probably should have won the other day at Nottingham and he gets an immediate chance to put that viewpoint to the test in this similar contest. Seemingly staying on strongest of all at the Colwick Park venue five days ago, Paul Cole’s charge’s propensity to hang to his left led him down a blind alley up the inside rail and, with his inexperienced pilot unable to drag his mount off the paintwork, the combination were floundering with nowhere to go inside the final furlong. Hopefully, back in the hands of a more experienced and stronger jockey, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar’s rough edges can be smoothed out by the under-used Irishman, and if his kinks can be ironed out, there’s no doubt he has the ability to land a race of this nature sooner rather than later.
Rookie trainer George Scott has enjoyed a productive first season with a license and that positivity looks set to continue in the shape of CACICA (NAP) (best price 4-1) in this fillies’ handicap. Having indicated a potential preferred for a synthetic track when runner-up to the in-form Cape Crystal at Wolverhampton three starts ago, the daughter of Cacique backed up that notion when finally breaking her maiden tag two starts later back at the same track. Although that victory came over 1m 4f, she showed enough tactical speed that evening to suggest a drop back in trip wouldn’t prove to be too much of an issue and providing she can handle today’s slightly different surface at the first time of asking, there’s no real reason why she won’t be competitive once again.