Our resident pundit has five bets from the around the all-weather meetings today.
STANLEY (best price 5-1), who didn’t really take to a spell hurdling last season, bounced back to form in no uncertain terms with an authoritative success over today’s C&D last time out and with the speed figure of that contest 21 days being the fastest furlong-per-furlong number on the card, Jonjo O’Neill’s charge is fancied to go well again in his follow-up bid. Always on the sharp end of what turned out to be very strong fractions set by Dark Wonder, the son of Pivotal picked off the front runner in pretty ready fashion and idling somewhat inside the final furlong, he scored with more in hand than the official winning margin suggests. Best when there’s a bit of cut in the ground, hopefully conditions should turn out to be ideal for the in-form five-year-old and if so, there’s no reason why he won’t give another solid account.
Having never run on the all-weather, there has to be an element of guesswork attached to the claims of BANDITRY (best price 11-2) in this competitive-looking handicap, but given the way he ran last time out at Doncaster and his overall qualities, he’s worth a shy at the stumps to overcome his lack of Polytrack experience. Last turning for home on Town Moor, Ian Williams’ charge fairly flew home in the closing stages and if he hadn’t had met interference at a crucial stage, he may have pulled off an unlikely victory. Likely to be dropped out the back once again, hopefully the son of Iffraaj gets the breaks at the right time this time around.
Given her slow starts and the way she’s ridden thereafter, backing UNSUSPECTED GIRL (best price 3-1) is a bit of a white-knuckle ride, but for those of a fairly granite-like constitution, hopefully will be rewarded for being put through the mixer. A two-time winner here despite giving away a chunk of ground on each occasion, David Simcock’s filly should have really made it three last time out when getting going too late and, as a result, she agonisingly just missed out. Unless she breaks the habit of a lifetime, the daughter of Rip Van Winkle will find herself at the rear of the field early, but as we’ve seen in the past, she has enough qualities to turn things around at the business end.
HURRICANE ROCK (best price 11-1) shaped with an abundant amount of promise on his debut at Windsor so there’s plenty of hope that he can make some sort of impact on his all-weather bow with just normal improvement. Unsurprisingly, being a stoutly-bred son of Rock Of Gibraltar, he got outpaced throughout the early exchanges at the Berkshire venue, but once the penny began to drop and his stamina kicked in with two furlong to run, Simon Dow’s charge picked up really nicely to finish a never-nearer third at the line. Although tonight’s contest contains several well-regarded sorts in the field, he should be capable of holding his own with an extra furlong to race over.
Despite not being a horse for the turf (0-24), CAPADOCIA (best price 6-1) hasn’t being running too badly of late on the grass and he can carry that decent form forward on his return to his favoured all-weather surface. The last time John Feane’s charge stepped foot on this track back in May he was successful and there’s every chance he may repeat the dose from a nice middle draw over a course he knows so well.