HOLMESWOOD (NAP) (best price 10-11) sets a decent standard courtesy of his C&D second here 23 days ago and in a race which lacks any great strength in depth, Michael Dods’ inmate should take all the beating. Although there was only five runners in that maiden at the Gosforth Park venue, they went a decent clip from the outset and considering he pushed the long odds-on favourite and 92-rated, Mazyoun, all the way to the line, the performance carries even more credence.£10 Free Credit and a £500 Deposit Bonus
SPANISH CITY (NB) (best price 6-4) won in the style of a horse that looks well ahead of his current handicap mark over today’s C&D last time out and he should be capable of following up that smooth success with expected improvement to come. Always travelling well in behind the speed, Roger Varian’s charge looked in trouble momentarily approaching the two furlong pole when he faced a wall of horses dropping back in his lap, but once the gap appeared inside the final furlong, he quickened up smartly to seal the deal with the minimum of fuss. Handily drawn this afternoon smack bang in the middle of the course, the son of Exceed And Excel can get plenty of cover in the early stages before unleashing his turn of foot late on.
GUSTY ROCKY (best price 4-1) left the impression he may have won at Gowran last time out had he been ridden a little more efficiently and with Ruby Walsh blessed with the kind of patience and tactical brain of chess master, Pat Flynn’s charge should benefit greatly from the champion jockey’s handling. Ridden last time out by Roger Loughran, the son of King’s Theatre was asked to make up a huge amount of ground in the hottest part of race and having momentarily looked like he was about to pull off an unlikely victory sweeping into the home straight, he understandably failed to sustain his effort on the run down to the last. Prior to that praiseworthy performance, the seven-year-old had run out a very easy winner of a competitive handicap on the Flat and having already proven his liking for today’s course back in the day, it makes perfect sense to keep him on side with conditions in his favour.
As he proved last time out, MONKSLAND (best price 7-2) is capable of taking his eye off the ball when a fence is approaching, but those mistakes are few and far between and he’s worth chancing in the hope that he can put in an error-free round. A genuine Grade 1 performer when racing over hurdles, Noel Meade’s charge has largely been dining at the very top table since switching his attentions to fences and even though he’s yet to capture one of these big prizes in six starts to date, it’s sure only a matter of time before he breaks his hoodoo. Prior to his untimely fall at Down Royal last time out, the son of Beneficial had done really well to win at Galway after being faced with what looked a difficult task with a mile to run and with trip and ground very much in his favour, today could well be the day that he has his day in the sun.
Although CHARLES MOLSON (best price 8-1) has yet to win on the all-weather in four starts, he has shown glimpses of distinct promise on the surface, as he did last time out at Lingfield. In a race which suited those who raced on the speed, Patrick Chamings’ charge was one of many inconvenienced by the way the race developed and he could never land a meaningful blow at the leaders. The way he finished off his race despite being hampered at a crucial stage, however, suggests he’s worth another chance and with this contest likely to be run at a strong pace from the outset courtesy of Chookie Royale and That Is The Spirit and He’s No Saint in the line-up, the race should set up nicely for the son of Monsieur Bond.