Andy hit the board with a winning nap yesterday and he's got seven great bets today.
POWERSBOMB (best price 20-1) will be an unfamiliar name to most punters on these shores, but there’s an outside chance that the Irish raider can leave an indelible mark on this race if things pan out in his favour. It has to be said that Brian McMahon’s charge is a bit of a mercurial character, often travelling strongly in his races before finding not as much as anticipated, but given the right kind of ride, there’s no denying his abundant qualities. Indeed, the son of Trans Island should have beaten subsequent Kerry National hero, Wrath Of Titans, at Downpatrick two starts ago but, in hitting the front way too soon, he allowed his main market rival on the day to worry him out of the argument on the long climb up the hill. Hopefully, the field go a good gallop today and given a ‘balls of steel’ ride under those circumstances, there’s a fair chance this six-year-old can easily outrun his odds.
As he proved several times last season, Martin Keithley is pretty adapt at laying one out for his local track and in the shape of ALTESSE DE GUYE (best price 12-1), the Condicote handler has a decent chance of adding to his collection of good results at Prestbury Park. Having already scored over today’s course last year, we know the daughter of Dom Alco acts around the track and being as she’s a strong traveller, a well-run race over 2m 5f should prove ideal for her seasonal bow.
Armed with the knowledge that the form of the Ayr Gold Cup is working out particularly well, JOHNNY BARNES (best price 10-1), who came home first of those drawn high, has to be of some interest to make his class count in this similarly tricky-to-solve heat. Having his first try in handicap company at the Scottish venue, John Gosden’s charge proved that a drop back to six furlongs was no inconvenience as he stayed on nicely down the middle of track to finish a never-nearer eighth, and given that he also suffered interference at several crucial stages, the performance deserves upgrading.
Another to make the shortlist on account of his excellent effort over an inadequate trip last time out is DOUGAN (best price 11-1). Seen as the chief flagbearer nowadays for the well-run Shropshire Wolves syndicate, David Evan’s charge arguably posted his best performance so far to date on turf when finishing a creditable fourth behind the revitalised Mirza in a strongly-contested handicap at Leicester recently, and given that the race at the Midland track was noted for its fast overall time and sectionals, the form looks solid. Although arguably slightly better on an all-weather surface, that performance 10 days ago, along with several others previously, prove that the son of Dutch Art is capable of running to a fair level on the grass and from his potentially favourable middle draw (the field tend to go straight down the centre of the track nowadays), there’s no reason why he won’t give another good account with the useful Josephine Gordon on board.
An extremely well-handicapped horse in the shape of Old Guard took this corresponding race last year, and there’s a good chance that lightening will strike twice providing WISHFULL DREAMING (NAP) (best price 15-8) is in the same sort of form he was on his seasonal return at Chepstow. Debuting in handicap company and having only his third start over hurdles, Philip Hobbs’ charge made a mockery of his opening mark with a facile success at the Welsh venue and quick to seize upon his current perch, connections see fit to bring their charge out again under a mandatory penalty. Not only was the son of Alflora visually impressive 12 days ago, his final circuit time was four seconds faster (equivalent to around 20 lengths in terms of distance) than Grade 2 Persian War winner, El Bandit, so using Paul Nicholls’ charge as a guide (rated 138), it’s quite clear this lightly-raced chestnut still remains leniently treated off 130.
As she’s proven many times in the past, POITIN (best price 5-1) is pretty deadly over tonight’s C&D, and following two commendable performances against smart opposition over inadequate trips, she now looks primed to strike back in her own grade. Going back to last season and her final start over 1m 4f here, Keith Clarke’s charge clocked one of the fastest furlong-per-furlong times recorded throughout the whole winter series at this track and a repeat of that sort of effort should ensure the daughter of Kheleyf is right in the thick of the action this evening.
Class is a vital commodity in all walks of life (Danny Willet’s brother showed a distinct lack of it during The Ryder Cup campaign) and none more so in this game, so despite top weight, DON’T BOTHER ME (best price 11-1) is taken to exert his superiority over inferior rivals. Due to soft ground, Niall Moran’s charge rarely gets the chance to run to his maximum capacity on home soil, but given a sound surface, as he proved here last time, the six-year-old is a fairly useful tool when conditions are right. Despite dropping back to 6f, the son of Dark Angel still proved too strong for the likes of Russian Soul, Moviesta and Jamesie in a quality conditions event and now stepping back up to his optimum trip, he has a decent chance of defying top weight.