Andy Holding has some strong fancies from around the tracks on Derby day.
The theory of a Group horse masquerading as a handicap gets banded around all too often, but in the case of POET’S WORD (NAP) (best price 9/4)
, the case looks a legitimate one. The way he disposed of his field when landing a maiden at Nottingham in a fast time on his latest start suggested he may have done well to get away with a mark of 87, and with the likes of Muntahaa, Shaaroah and indulged all running out impressive winners subsequently, the form backs up both the visual impression and numbers he posted that day.
POET’S WORD - 2pts @ 9/4Lost -2pts
Unbeaten in two starts at today’s track, GIOIA DE VITA (best price 5/1)
is fancied to keep his exemplary record in tact with conditions to suit. Back off a break, Dr Newland’s inmate ran a blinder when runner-up to the mercurial McKinley in a competitive handicap on the last day of the jumps season at Sandown and he followed that up with another commendable effort in a similarly tough contest at Newton Abbot last time out. Although he’s off a career-high mark and up against several in-form rivals, it would still come as something of surprise if the son of Sakhee doesn’t occupy a prominent role.
IOIA DE VITA - 1pt e/w @ 5/1Lost -2pts
Based on the evidence of day one of the Derby fixture, the ground was riding very much on the testing side, so with that in mind, BARWICK (best price 12/1)
makes plenty of appeal going back to the scene of his victory in the Great Metropolitan earlier in the season. On his first start for new connections, George Baker’s charge came from an uncompromising position to land that valuable prize in pretty convincing fashion and with his hold-up run-style suited to the way most races tend to pan out at this venue, the son of Beat Hollow can bide his time out the back before pouncing late.
BARWICK - 0.5pts e/w @ 12/1Lost -1pts
DUCKY MALLON (best price 14/1)
has for a long time suggested he’s capable of landing a race of this nature and having run two encouraging races on ground that wouldn’t have played into his strengths (fast ground form reads 43122), the son of Jeremy now gets the chance to have his day in the sun under his optimum conditions. Just touched off by Dark Alliance in a similar race over C&D this time last season that performance, creditable though it was, deserves to be upgraded even further on account of his poor draw and his propensity to take a keen grip in the early stages. Although Donal Kinsella’s inmate has failed to build on that effort subsequently, his two runs this campaign have been full of promise, and if he can get some cover from his favourable high draw up against the stands side rail, a massive run looks on the cards from this likable grey.
Similarly to the main selection, his old rival DARK ALLIANCE (best price 8/1)
has run all his best races in big-field, strong run affairs over six furlongs and although he’s a bit of a hostage-to-fortune character, he has far too much talent to be totally ignored. His latest performances when bang on the scene in some of the best sprint handicaps run at Dundalk during their all-weather campaign suggest Micky Halford’s charge is holding his form admirably and from his decent double-figure draw, the Dark Angel gelding is expected to make his presence felt.
DUCKY MALLON - 1pt e/w @ 14/1Lost -2pts
DARK ALLIANCE - 1pt e/w @ 8/1Lost -2pts
NEWSMAN (best price 9/2)
and DODGYBINGO (best price 10/1)
were second and fourth respectively in a very strongly-run affair over today’s C&D on Irish 1000 Guineas day and that form looks worth following in the context of this race. The former did really well to hang in there as long as he did after cutting out tremendous early fractions, and with today’s better ground likely to be more beneficial to the cause than they were 13 days ago, Ger Lyon’s charge has the qualities to put up another bold display. Although the latter couldn’t quite lay a glove on the front runners, Noel Meade’s inmate kept on well enough to suggest he should turn out to be a fairly potent force throughout the remainder of the season and, he too, should also appreciate a much quicker surface.
NEWSMAN - 1pt e/w @ 9/2Lost -0.1pts
DODGYBINGO - 0.5pts e/w @ 10/1Lost -1pts