LEAPAWAY (best price 8-1) impressed by the way he travelled in a hot contest at Newbury recently and a repeat of that level of form should see him right in the thick of the action in this much weaker affair. Sent off a rank outsider at 66-1 on just second start over hurdles, Philip Hobbs’ inmate loomed up going well swinging out of the back straight and although he probably didn’t go on as well as anticipated and was beaten a good way, he still kept on well enough to finish a respectable fourth against some pretty useful types. Hopefully that run will have taught him plenty and brought him forward mentally and if so, there’s every reason to feel upbeat about his prospects.
SHYRON (best price 13-2) is always a little bit hostage to fortune the way he has to be ridden, but what he does need is a strong pace and with both Early Morning and Swift Approval in the line-up to ensure there won’t be any hanging around, the seven-year-old has every chance to run to maximum capacity. The son of Byron often takes a while to find his feet during the winter, but once he’s in the groove, he can be pretty devastating in these sorts of events as he proved here last time out. Held up as usual off the back of sound fractions, George Margarson’s inmate still appeared to have plenty to do as the field swung for home, but producing his trademark burst up the inside in the last two furlongs, he swept by his rivals to get up close home. Still not badly treated on the pick of his very best form, this likeable gelding rates the value each-way call at the morning odds.
Time may tell, the BLACK ART (best price 3-1) probably got beat by a useful tool last time in the shape of The Dubai Way and although he faces one or two tasty enough opponents again today, he has at least got vital track experience on his side to call upon. In a race run at a solid pace through here on Boxing Day (good overall speed figure), Sue Smith charge took up the cudgels from four out and even though he maintained the gallop all the way to the line, he couldn’t quite shake of the eventual winner who nailed him late in the piece on the run up the hill. Given that his conqueror that day has been allotted with a handicap rating of 122, the son of Black Sam Bellamy’s opening mark of 112 seems more than fair granted his performance that day and with Bulkov likely to tow the field along at a decent pace, it should give Sean Quinlan a nice target to aim at on his mount.
One win in 23 isn’t exactly a glowing endorsement for the prospects of TEXAS RADIO (NAP) (best price 5-2), but since switching to his new yard, there’s seems to be more encouragement of late and following three promising runs since a 65-day layoff after the turf Flat season, John Feane’s inmate looks poised to strike on a surface that seems to suit. Flat to the boards when trying to hold his position around the outside over 6f back in November, that cobweb-blower proved the platform for a much more positive display on his next start over today’s C&D two weeks later when he kept on strongly from the back of the field to finish a never-nearer fourth behind Secret Memories.
Once again stuck out wide (stall 14 of 14) and giving up plenty of ground when apprentice ridden last time out, the son of Kyllachy showed up prominently until the exertions of trying to hold his position with the leaders finally took its toll in the latter stages over a mile last time out, but at least that performance in finishing a creditable second to the in-form Lady Rosebud went some way to highlight his current wellbeing. Better drawn this evening, connections have interestingly gone for one of the better and more experienced apprentices in this boys race here this evening and he looks certain to go well off his bargain basement mark.