It's a busy day of action on the Flat and over Jumps, and Andy Holding has the best bets.
The day that ROSIE BRIAR (best price 20-1) and Comedy School won their respective divisions of the 6f fillies’ maiden at Haydock a month ago, they posted identical overall and split times (1.12.5 and 35.4 for last 3f) in victory, so even though the ratings suggest the former has it all to do against the latter, the findings of the clock readings point towards her being overpriced compared to the market leader. Improving significantly from her debut effort over 5f at Windsor back in June, Andrew Balding’s charge exhibited a fair turn of foot off the back of strong fractions at the Lancashire venue and hailing from a yard that know the price of fish, the thought process of coming here to try and gain some black type rather than exploit a lenient mark of 76 in handicap could well turn out to be a shrewd one.
MEMORIAL DAY (best price 11-2) clocked a big set of numbers when scoring off the back of an 11-month layoff at Pontefract 30 days ago, and providing he doesn’t bounce to the moon like some of his stable mates can do after such a startling performance, Saeed Bin Suroor’s inmate has a chance of following up on his first attempt outside handicap company. The way he travelled and quickened up smartly to pull eight lengths clear in a short space of time suggests he certainly deserves to take his chance in pattern company and having already run well over today’s C&D in the past, the son of Cape Cross can continue his progression.
HUMIDOR (best price 16-1) is clearly no spring chicken at the age of nine, but based on his recent performances he still retains all his enthusiasm and qualities and it would come as no surprise to see him haul his Zimmer frame into the thickest portion of the race over a track where his stats read 23511. Not only did George Baker’s charge run off his face when second in the Portland Handicap from a bad draw, he went on to finish a creditable third in a strongly-run handicap at Leicester last time out and with the form of the race at the Midland venue franked by the fourth-placed Dougan here yesterday, 16-1 looks too big to resist a few units each-way on the son of Camacho.
Knowing that IMPERIAL AVIATOR’s (best price 9-2) two best career performances have come over today’s C&D makes Roger Charlton’s charge an obvious starting point for this competitive handicap and he should be confidently backed accordingly to get back on the winning trail. A ready victory over subsequent Gordon Stakes hero Ullyses at Leicester back in April got his season off to the best possible start and he duly followed up that performance with a display of total authority in a hot handicap here on his next outing. Not good enough for Almanzor and Co in the Group 1 French Derby next time out, the son of Paco Boy bounced back to form when returning to the Berkshire venue on his latest outing and with the form of that quality handicap advertised by the likes of Scarlet Dragon and Autocratic subsequently, there's every reason to believe this un-exposed three-year-old will run a big race against his elders.
Improving, lightly-raced three-year-olds are always dangerous against their elders in staying handicaps at this time of year and UAE PRINCE (NAP) (best price 2-1) looks no different on his first start in his new discipline. Nicely backed at fancy prices for the Derby prior to his debut at Leicester back in May, Roger Varian’s charge failed to live to those lofty heights when only third behind Imperial Aviator, but given the exploits of the winner, second, fourth and fifth subsequently, it wasn’t too bad a run after all. Off the track for five months in the interim, the son of Sea The Stars returned to the fray to make light work of an average field back at the same track a month ago and although his opening mark of 93 surely has to contain a certain amount of guesswork from the official assessor, it still may turn out to be on the lenient side given connections see their charge as one of their big middle-distance pattern hopes for next season.
FOX NORTON (best price 9-2) rounded off a fine first season over fences with a game all-the-way victory over the useful Dormello Mo and this looks to be a decent starting point towards what should be another lucrative campaign. Good enough to finish within striking distance of the mighty Douvan in the Arkle over today’s C&D back in March, that’s the sort of level of competition Neil Mulholland’s charge found himself against on several occasions last season and having also proven that he goes well fresh courtesy of a success at Market Rasen this time last year, everything looks set fair for a big performance from the six-year-old with plenty seemingly in his favour.