Andy Holding has some strong fancies this afternoon so make sure you check out his advice here.
GONALSTON CLOUD (best price 7/1)
went through his last race at Catterick like a horse better than his current rating and that theory can ring true when Nick Kent’s inmate takes on a much sterner test in this trappy Class 4 handicap. Racing back over fences following a fruitful spell point-to-pointing (five wins from six starts), the Cloudings gelding was always travelling supremely well in a competitive race of its kind at the Yorkshire venue and only having to be shaken up mildly in the closing stages, he readily pulled clear of a field which contained many in-form handicappers. On reflection, a 9lb rise in the ratings could have been a good deal worse given how easily he won and he looks likely to take full advantage of his light weight in the testing conditions.
Gonalston Cloud - 0.5pts e/w @ 7/1
SHIRATAKI (best price 5/2)
was more than a shade unlucky not to follow up his previous victory at Kempton here the other day and he’s worth another try to show what he’s really made of in what looks a fairly modest heat. Impressive at the Surrey venue when he came from last to first, Peter Hiatt’s inmate ran into a wall of horses when trying to execute similar tactics over a furlong further nine days ago and with the prospect of today’s extra distance playing even more into his strengths, the in-form eight-year-old rates the strongest bet on the card.
Shirataki - 2pts @ 5/2
AT THE TOP best price 6/4)
has the physique of a chaser and his trainer Dan Skelton has wasted no time sending this scopey type over fences after just three lifetime starts. The son of Network gave out signs of better things to come with an encouraging effort in a decent maiden over the brush hurdles at Southwell last time out and if he can carry forward that sort of performance on his first start over the larger obstacles, he should be good enough to account for this sort of opposition off a lenient-looking mark.
At The Top - 1pt @ 6/4
Although HANDSOME SAM (best price 8/1)
failed in his bid to follow up a previous C&D success at Leicester last time out, the combination of a much better race and severely testing ground just caught out Alan King’s charge in the closing stages. As the eventual winner of that race at the East Midland venue, Hit The Highway, has gone on to endorse the form subsequently, it probably wasn’t too bad a performance on reflection by the selection and with the likelihood of better ground also seen as a major positive, the son of Black Sam Bellamy can hopefully make some sort of impact in his first try in handicap company off a reasonable mark.
Handsome Sam - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1
PRIMO UNO (NAP) (best price 7/2)
came out second best in what was the strongest 5f contest on the figures of the winter campaign so far and a repeat of that level of form will surely see him as a major player despite the competitive nature of the field. To nearly run down the hugely in-form speedster Chiclet was a massive effort by Gerard O’Leary’s charge but considering he did so after being cut off at the pass three furlongs from home, is an even more praiseworthy performance. Running the last three furlongs in 33.0 enabled him to get within half-a-length of Tracy Collins’ tank and, as he’s likely to get plenty of pace signed-on courtesy of trailblazer Little Sweetheart. A ground-saving trip from his favourable inside gate should turn out to be perfect for the son of Strategic Prince to then strike down the lane.
Primo Uomo - 2pts e/w @ 7/2