On a bumper day of racing with nine meetings, Andy Holding has eight horses to watch.
Jessica Harrington could probably put a saddle on the stable cat and it would win given her current form and CLAIM THE LADY (best price 11-2) could well turn out to be yet another winner for the irrepressible handler in this two-year-old maiden.
Although no match for easy winner Anthony Van Dyke at Killarney on debut, the Acclamation colt stayed on in eye-catching fashion to finish a creditable and never-nearer third at the line and with the winner thought of as a potential Derby horse for next year and the fifth home, Broome, going on to score next time out, he clearly ran in the sort of race which is worth following.
As the betting suggests, about as wide open a 10-runner handicap as you will find, but on account of his reliability, VIA SERENDIPITY (best price 5-1) gets the vote as the logical percentage call.
Winner of a hugely competitive 1m handicap at Sandown three starts ago, Stuart Williams’ four-year-old ran just as well in defeat when returning to the Esher venue three weeks later and his latest effort when fourth in the Gigaset Handicap over today’s course certainly suggested that he still continues on the upward curve.
Fourth of the 27 strong field at the Berkshire, the son of Invincible Spirit came out best of those that were positioned towards the nearside rail and considering the trip of seven furlongs was also just slightly short of his best, his effort deserves upgrading (going on strongly at the finish).
As his two previous runs at Sandown have proven, he’s at his best over a stiff mile when asked to race around a right-handed bend and with Hayley Turner on board – who always seems to come alive at this meeting – seen as a massive positive, it’s hard to see this consistent gelding not going well under optimum conditions.
BLOOMFIELD (best price 9-2) proved to be a bit disappointing at the Curragh but the combination of facing some useful three-year-olds in Group 2 company and on ground that was deemed way too lively were all valid excuses and she’s afforded another chance back on a more suitable surface at a track she loves.
Runner-up to the high-class Eziyra on only her third lifetime start on her first visit to the Co Mallow venue, Willie McCreery’s filly came back to make a winning seasonal reappearance here on bottomless ground in April and she duly followed up that success with another convincing display in a similar event at Gowran.
Unable to cope with the smart Flattering on quick ground on her penultimate start, the rain in the last 24 hours should provide the daughter Teofilo with the ideal platform to perform at her best and despite the presence of several useful members of the female sex against her both old and new, the four-year-old rates a relatively confident choice to resume winning ways.
TEODORO (best price 14-1) might not have the sexy profile of some of his younger counterparts but the one thing he does have in his favour is a terrific track record, and that all-important knowledge might just allow him to be a bigger threat than his odds imply on his first outing in pattern company.
Victorious in two starts at the Merseyside venue last season, Tom Dascombe’s four-year-old lost his unbeaten record when managing only fourth of the six-strong field on his return to action back in May, but with that all-important run under his belt, he was able to resume winning ways with a resounding success at Newbury a month later.
Strongly fancied to supplement those gains in the competitive Old Newton Cup here last time out, the son of Teofilo ran as well as could be expected given the task he was set in the home straight and with all of his four victories having taken place in single-figure fields, the strong-galloping four-year-old might just be capable of upsetting the applecart.
Traditionally, three-year-olds at this time of year can find in inordinate amount of improvement so sorting the wheat from the chaff in this staying handicap won’t be easy. However, there was plenty to like about the way JAZEEL (NAP) (best price 11-2) dismissed older rivals (always a good sign) at Sandown last time out and with the time figure backing up the visual aspect of the display, Mick Channon’s young stayer rates the value call to supplement those gains.
Despite the small field at the Esher venue, Flight Of Fantasy made sure there was a strong pace on from the outset and that appeared to really suit the son of Roderic O’Connor as he came from last to first to score in ready fashion by an eased-down two lengths. Moreover, his closing sectionals from four out were better than the likes of Autumn Leaves and Arigato, who were comparable in terms of class, and with the likelihood of even more to come now he faces an extra two furlongs, this likeable and honest colt can find the extra required to make a serious impact.
QUICK BREATH (best price 7-1) impressed by the way he took to today’s surface at the first time of asking 18 days ago and despite a tricky-looking draw in stall eight, the three-year-old is fancied to keep up the terrific run of his trainer.
A winner on his first outing of the season at Windsor, Johnny Portman’s gelding ran well on his next two starts in competitive handicaps, but it was his latest effort which really pointed towards him going in the right direction in a massive way. Held up off the speed at the Essex track, the son of Bated Breath found a tremendous burst of speed inside the last two furlongs and in going on strongly at the finish, he lowered the colours of some useful and in-form rivals.
Clearly well suited by a well-run seven-furlongs on the evidence of that display, he makes plenty of appeal at the morning prices.
If we had the use of the Trackus chart that analyses how much ground horses have covered in any given race over in Dubai, I’m sure the data would have revealed the lengths given away by IFUBELIEVEINDREAMS (best price 7-2) here last time was completely debilitating, so the fact that Ismail Mohammed’s charge managed to finish as close as she did is testimony to her raw ability.
Despite being stuck out on the wing throughout from stall 14 of 14, the daughter of Iffraaj only failed to pull off the impossible feat to the tune of a length and three quarters and with the time figure of the race pretty solid for the grade, she clearly better than her finishing position suggested. Better positioned today coming out of trap six, this course specialist is a must for the shortlist hailing from a yard in great form at present.
BATCIO (best price 10-3) appears to be improving with each start and he has enough quality and knowhow to provide hot favourite Presenting Leah with plenty to think about on her rules debut. An eye-catching fourth in a useful bumper at Punchestown two starts ago, Ted Walsh’s gelding duly bettered that performance when returning to the Co Kildare venue on his latest outing and with the field well and truly strung out in the closing stages, the effort in second merits plenty of praise. A strong traveller who sees his races out well, today’s track with plenty of give underfoot will suit just fine and he makes plenty of appeal at the morning prices.