Horse racing expert Andy Holding has four tips for today's racing, including a 2pt NAP at Bellestown.
STOCKBRIDGE TAP (best price 4-1) may have been chalked up the outsider of this four-runner field, but that oversight by the bookmakers may turn out to be a gross miscalculation and he deserves to be backed accordingly.
Hard to assess fully in many respects with just the two starts under his belt, James Bethell’s gelding arrives here having pushed the useful A Star Above all the way in a decent little maiden at Thirsk last time out and with the winner going on to lower the colours of the well-fancied Au Claire Du Lune at Leicester last night, the form looks even stronger than it did at first light. Moreover, the time figure at the Yorkshire track also suggests the race in question was above average and with the pace likely to be fairly honest courtesy of Mambo Nights being in the line-up, the son of Nayef should get all the assistance he needs to outrun his odds.
LOUDEST WHISPER (NAP) (best price 7-2) looks to have next to no chance at first glance given her form figures over hurdles so far to date, but with his latest exploits on the Flat offering much more cause for optimism, she receives a relatively confident vote to take advantage of her bargain basement mark.
Having no shown next to nothing on his first two starts over timber, Ed Delany’s mare offered more promise on her third and final outing at the winter game when a creditable seventh in quite a hot race at Naas back in February. Since then, the daughter of Maxios seems to have gathered some much-needed confidence and she’s managed to raise her game significantly enough to finish placed on all three starts on the Flat, the last of which came over today’s course just six days ago. Figuring prominently throughout in what turned out to be a well-run affair, the five-year-old kept on stoutly to finish third behind the in-form Allora Yeats and with her previous outing at Roscommon also coming out well on the figures, her levels of reliability have taken a real turn for the better. The fact Rachel Blackmore has been booked here this afternoon is real signal of intent and with fitness and track knowledge on her side, she should easily be capable of going close in a race of this nature.
EXHIBIT (best price 12-1) ultimately couldn’t live with some smart fillies when last seen over tonight’s track, but she did manage to keep on well to finish a creditable fourth and a reproduction of a similar level of form should be good enough to see her competitive off an opening mark of 82 on handicap debut.
Mid-division in a warm fillies’ maiden at Newmarket on her debut last season, Richard Hannon’s filly duly improved on that promising effort by running out a comfortable winner on the all-weather at Chelmsford. Not seen out for 199 days, the daughter of Showcasing returned to action at tonight’s Berkshire venue in what looked a tasty novice fillies’ contest and although she failed to land a meaningful blow at the big players such as Stylistique and African Dream, the numbers for the race suggested she’d still run to affair standard despite being beaten seven lengths. Just behind her that day, Baarij, has gone on score since and is now rated 83, so her opening assessment just south of that rating doesn’t appear too severe and with Ryan Moore on board, she surely has a better chance of being competitive than her morning odds imply.
MERSIN (best price 13-2) was given a sympathetic ride behind two very smart colts last time out and he rates an intriguing contender in this slightly easier contest that lacks any real strength in depth.
Not knocked about in a strong-looking novice event at Wolverhampton in his debut, Roger Charlton’s colt wasn’t fancied to cut much ice against the likes of Highest Ground and Waldkonig at Haydock last time out and although that turned out to be the case, the way he shaped in the race more than suggested brighter times were ahead. With two quiet runs under his belt, there’s always a danger that he might be a handicap project for a later date and tonight might not see him at full tilt, but if he’s allowed to run on his merits, he certainly has the ability to figure prominently and at the very least make the frame.