Horse racing expert Andy Holding has seven tips for today's racing
WELL FUNDED (best price 10-1) ran well for a long way before his stamina gave way over two miles here last time out, but now dropped back to her optimum distance on ground that suits, James Bethell’s filly makes plenty of appeal on her return visit.
Shaping as though just in need of the outing first time out at Pontefract, the daughter of Camelot arrived at the Merseyside venue 15 days ago with bright prospects of faring a good deal better and although she didn’t quite manage to add to her career tally of three wins in 14 starts, she did her future ambitions no harm. Travelling well approaching two out, the four-year-old couldn’t live with the turn of foot shown by the eventual winner Solo Saxophone (best splits on card) but with nothing in today’s field capable of knocking out 11-second furlong sectionals after running two miles, she should be more than capable of upholding her stats of 12115 when encountering soft ground.
SUBJECTIVIST (best price 11-4) ran a remarkable race in one of the toughest three-year-old handicaps of the season, and he can be relied upon to vindicate the impression he created at the Berkshire venue despite top weight.
Drawn out wide 18 days ago, Mark Johnston’s colt couldn’t quite find a slot in the pack during the run down to Swinley Bottom and, as a result, he was forced to race out on the wing without no cover for the majority of the journey. To his ultimate credit, therefore, the mere fact that he kept on stoically all the way to the line despite circumnavigating the entire field is testimony to his courage and ability and despite being bumped back up to a rating of 97, it’s probably a fair reflection of his performance levels. Based on his effort that day, he should have no problem with the extra distance he faces this afternoon and having run well on both to his previous visits to today’s venue, this sturdy individual should be capable of making his class count.
JUMAIRA BAY (best price 6-1) left the impression a strongly-run mile just stretched him here last time out and he’s fancied to put that theory to the test back at the scene of that excellent effort 22 days ago.
Having his first outing for 227 days, the son of Siyouni was allowed to go off at 18-1 on Town Moor and for nine tenths of the journey, he looked as though he was going to defy his position in the market. Quickening up from the back of the field to hit the front over a furlong out (best three to two furlong split on card), he ended up being run out of the argument close home by the strong-staying Nugget, but with the pair well clear and the time figure good, his performance must have delighted connections. Looking back at one of his best efforts from last season, he gave today’s favourite, Society Lion, plenty to think about in an above-average affair at Yarmouth and with the fourth home that day, Mishriff, going on to advertise the strength of the form subsequently (runs in Group 1 French Derby today), it beggars belief how Roger Varian’s colt is still only rated 82. A big, strapping three-year-old who should improve as the season progresses, it’s surely only a matter of time before a race of this nature falls his way and with his old rival Society Lion one of the only logical dangers on paper, he ranks a cast-iron each-way bet at his morning odds returning to a track that clearly suited him well last time.
MONTATHAM (NAP) (best price 2-1) has to be given a huge amount of credit for almost pulling off an impossible task in the Hunt Cup at Ascot last time out and he’s definitely one to keep on side on the evidence of that display.
Strongly-fancied in many quarters for one of the marquee handicaps at the Royal meeting three weeks ago following an impressive victory at Newmarket previously, William Haggas’ chances of justifying market confidence dipped dramatically as he was handed stall five in the ballot. On the evidence of all the action on the straight track over the first two days of the meeting, a high draw was essential, so for him to push the better-berth Dark Vision all the way to the line is testimony to his qualities. Seemingly well-suited by a well-run, stiff mile, the son of Showcasing should be in his element here this afternoon and he has a fine chance of turning around the form with Dark Vision on a more even playing field.
As ever, a competitive field assembled for this valuable prize, but it could pay to concentrate on solid course form with both BABBO’S BOY (best price 13-2) and RANCH HAND (best price 9-2) fully adverse to coping with the layout of the Merseyside venue if recent evidence is to be believed.
The former has always had a shed load of talent but he’s also had his issues and that’s one of the main reasons why he’s sometimes failed to deliver. Having said that, he couldn’t have been any more impressive when totally dismantling his rivals over today’s course a month ago and it’s significant to note connections have decided to wait for this prize and bring him back here rather than possibly disrupt his general feeling of bonhomie. Indeed, in leaving the likes of subsequent winners, Harrovian, and Alternative Fact for dead, the son of Mastercraftsman posted backend fractions quicker than the other two notable races on the card won by Space Blues and Lord North, so it’s just a case of whether the blinkers work for the second time and he’s as equally effective on a slightly softer surface.
The latter certainly won’t mind the change in ground conditions, as he proved unequivocally here last season and following a perfectly respectable effort on his return to action at Ascot last time, he should be more than ready to get back in the groove. Looking at the vanquished he beat in that competitive handicap last September, they contained the likes of Trueshan, First In Line and Moon King and one of today’s main rivals Laafy, and with repeat of that performance most likely now he races back under his optimum conditions, the Andrew Balding’s gelding makes plenty of appeal.
OVERHEER (best price 5-1) did everything right other than win on just his second start in handicap company at Roscommon last time out and Joseph Murphy’s gelding is fancied to make it sixth time lucky off what still appears a workable mark.
An eye-catching fifth in a well-run, competitive contest on handicap debut at Tipperary on his handicap/seasonal debut, the son of Heeraat was well-backed to get off the mark at the Lenebane venue and for much part of the 1m2f affair 13 days ago, he looked likely to deliver the goods. Unfortunately, the three-year-old succumbed to the powerful late thrust of Ally Cal in the dying strides and he had to settle for an honourable second, but all the same, he still managed to pull clear of the rest and record a fast time figure. Although drawn out slightly wider than ideal here this afternoon, hopefully Shane Crosse can bounce him out and get his across and over to the main pack and if so, there’s more than affair chance he will go close to shedding his maiden tag.