Andy Holding's picked out three tips for today's racing at Newmarket and Lingfield.
Based on yesterday’s action at HQ, it was certainly no bad thing to be drawn next to a rail and race handy, so with the stalls on the far side for day two of the four-day fixture, the low-drawn DAZZLING DAN (best price 9-2) is fancied to take full advantage of his potentially favourable stall position and forward-going run style.
First and foremost, it’s worth pointing out straight away that Pam Sly’s gelding appears to enjoy home comforts - as his record of 2131 at both the July Course and Rowley Mile testifies – and it’s also noticeable he has a fair record when fresh. Runner-up in an ultra-competitive handicap at Doncaster on his opening bow last season, the son of Dandy Man took little time in making amends when getting the better of another useful field back over his happy hunting ground a month later. Thereafter, he ran a series of fine races – other than one uncharacteristic poor effort in the Portland Handicap – and with his victory over Oxted here in August reading particularly strong given the subsequent exploits of the runner-up, the resumption of this ultra-consistent sprinter is eagerly awaited.
A potentially useful staying handicap and there are several four-year-olds who could take a big step forward including HOLY KINGDOM (best price 6-1) who ran with distinction in some smart middle-distances races last season. Off the mark at the eighth time of asking in a maiden at Chelmsford, Tom Clover’s gelding was pitched into the deep end of a hot York handicap next time out and although he ran up to a career high at the time, he proved no match for the impressive winner Hamish, who looks a Group horse all day long. Once again, in fairly choppy waters back at the scene of his previous win at the Essex venue when last seen, the four-year-old grey this time pushed the equally-useful First In Line all the way to the line and with the pair well clear of the rest, the form looks particularly solid. Moreover, the time figure also suggests it was a pretty good race of its kind and hailing from a yard that can take encouragement out of their first runner, Balgair, at Yarmouth two days ago, the son of Australia has a decent chance of providing his Newmarket handler his first winner of the season.
There’s more than a fair chance that Jovial is the proverbial pattern race performer masquerading as a handicapper and the market activity in her direction (2-1 in places yesterday) certainly suggests that might be the case, but either way, RIVER NYMPH (best price 15-2) is a fair prospect in his own right and it would come as no surprise if he were to give a good account at much more rewarding odds.
An encouraging third in an above-average Salisbury maiden to kick off his career, Clive Cox’s colt had the misfortune to bump into the progressive Smokey Bear at Newbury on his next start, but with the time figure of the race pointing towards the first few home at the Berkshire track being well above-average, he was clearly going in the right direction. Well-supported to back up the evidence of the clock at Wolverhampton on his final outing of the campaign, the son of Cable Bay got the job done in tidy fashion and with his opening mark of 83 leaving plenty of scope for anticipated improvement, he makes plenty of appeal as a strong each-way alternative to the hot favourite.