Horse racing expert Andy Holding has six tips for today's racing
Denis Hogan has had a decent week at Ballybrit, saddling two winners to add to his numerous placed runners and in the shape of SIN E SHEKELLS (best price 7-2), the Co Tipperary handler has affine chance of ending the fixture on a high.
Yo-yoing between the minimum trip and 1m2f in his short career, his latest effort over a mile seems to be his optimum for the time being given how he performed and a repeat of that display 10 days ago should be good enough to see him in the mix. Held up towards the rear, the son of Bated Breath made relentless progress in the final half a mile, so much so that he ended up finished on the coat tails of the main two players who arrived at the venue in stonking good form. Moreover, the time figure of the race at the Dublin venue suggested it was affair heat for the grade and with the winner and fourth going on to advertise the strength of the race at Gowran next time out, the three-year-old can do his bit for the form.
GRANDE RUMORE (best price 11-2) has had the misfortune to finish second on her first three starts, but today’s contest looks one of the weakest she’s taken on board so far to date and she’s fancied to take advantage of a slight ease in grade.
Promising when just run out of the argument on debut at Lingfield, went to Haydock for her next start and it’s the performance she put up that day which makes her such an appealing bet here this afternoon. In keeping on well to push the well-regarded First Kingdom all the way to the line, she in turn finishing well clear of the rest and when you look at the subsequent efforts of those in behind, such as Shouldering, Wondrous Words, Arabic Charm and Belatrixsa, it’s safe to say the race at the Merseyside venue was well above average. For the third time in succession she bumped into a potentially smart filly in the shape of Sun Bear at Windsor but by no means to her standards drop and of a mark of 78 – which could have been far worse – Richard Hannon’s filly is expected to do some damage on handicap debut.
Quite a few of these arrive here in excellent shape following solid performances over today’s course earlier in the week and they are all respected but so too should KODIAC PRINCE (best price 10-1) who posted a smart speed for the grade when scoring at Gowran last time out.
Allowed to go off a whopping 25-1 at the Co Kilkenny track despite running well in a decent heat the time before at Leopardstown, the son of Kodiac defied his position in the market in some style, and in doing so he posted a very smart speed figure for the grade. Proving unequivocally that day he stays a well-run seven-furlongs extremely strongly, today’s test, therefore, should be right up his street and from not a disastrous draw in stall 10, Thomas Cleary’s gelding rates one of the best bets on the card.
THAI POWER (NAP) (best price 7-4) ran well in a mile better race than the one he faces this afternoon over today’s C&D on his latest outing and he would only have to run somewhere near the same level to get the job done on his return visit.
Unlucky to bump into the very progressive Galata Bridge (runs in 2.55 Newcastle today) in a minor event on the all-weather at Wolverhampton back in early July, Andrew Balding’s was upped to Class 3 company for the first time last time out and although he couldn’t quite see the job through, he did more than enough to suggest his current rating of 71 is still someway short of his true ability. Racing quite keenly throughout, the son of Kingman didn’t quite have enough in the locker to repel the more patiently ridden Arthurian Fable, but when you consider his conqueror had been plying his trade in much better races at Royal Ascot and Newmarket previously, there was no shame in going under to such an improving colt. Amazingly only up 1lb in the ratings despite his excellent effort 10 days ago, this imposing three-year-old will be very hard to beat providing Silvestre De Sousa can get him switched off better this afternoon.
Matthew Smith is becoming a dab hand at preparing one for this meeting and following another two winners this week to add to his excellent haul last year, the Co Meath handler has a decent chance of adding to his impressive tally with FLAMING MOON (best price 11-1) in today’s feature.
Lightly-raced, the three-year-old has run well in all three outings this season, culminating in easily his best effort so far to date in the ultra-competitive Scurry Handicap at the Curragh last time out. Drawn towards the nearside, the son of Born To Sea had to row his own boat for majority of the six-an-a-half-furlong trip but despite being inconvenienced by how the race panned out, he still finished his race off well to be a never-nearer fifth behind many in-form sprinters. Shaping as though extra yardage wouldn’t go amiss at the Co Kildare venue, he has a decent enough draw and ground in his favour to go close on his first visit to Ballybrit.
Of the rest, Njord simply has to go close following his excellent effort in trying to make all in the big race here on Tuesday and that’s the fourth time in arrow he’s shown his effectiveness over today’s course. Of those at bigger odds, On A Session has to come into calculations having finished runner-up in this race last year, while Breaking Story comes out well on the speed figures following a massive effort in a quality listed race at Navan on his first run since being gelded.
Long gone seem the days when Dermot Weld dominated this meeting with winners into double-figures, but the Master of Rosewell still rates a potent force in maidens around this unique venue and in the shape of ALAIYA (best price 9-2), he looks to have another with a decent chance in a race of this nature.
Down the field on her opening salvo at Leopardstown in mid-June, the daughter of Sea The Stars was understandably a big price next time out at Cork, but despite being one of the outsiders of the 18-strong line-up, she managed to run way beyond her market expectation. Held up in mid-division, the lightly-raced three-year-old began to make some noticeable headway as the field turned into the straight, but unfortunately her momentum got persistently checked and she couldn’t quite find top gear until very late. She did, however, hit the line well enough to suggest she was a good deal better than her losing margin indicated and considering she was up against some smart colts that included the likes of Monumental Valley and Taramansour, who have both locked horns with Classic winners this term, her performance deserves extra merit. Back against her own sex and over a trip which should elicit further improvement, Alaiya makes plenty of each-way appeal at the morning odds.