Andy Holding has four selections from today's racing, including a 2 pt NAP at Newton Abbot.
14.50 Newton Abbot
DOUBLY CLEVER (NAP) (best price 12-5) fairly hosed up over today’s C&D on his return to the National Hunt game 12 days ago and even though he faces one or two interesting opponent arriving here is reasonable shape themselves, namely Parody, Ben Pauling’s gelding rates a confident vote to replicate the feat.
Shaping with promise on his second start for his new trainer on the Flat at Kempton previously, the son of Iffraaj arrived at the West Country venue full of hope he could add to his eight-win career tally and as it turned out, he ended up doing so in pretty decisive fashion. Held up in rear, the eight-year-old was brought to life going out on the final circuit and in maintaining a solid gallop all the way to the line, he readily puled right away from his toiling rivals. Clocking by far and away the best overall speed figure on the nine-race card, the chestnut also ran the final lap in a time much quicker than the other four hurdle races that afternoon, including both the two mile contests, so armed with that knowledge, he would only have to run to a similar level on his return visit to make his eight rivals sweat.
There’s no denying Bective Cave is a better hurdler than chaser based on his overall profile and having been beaten fair and square by ALICE JOHNSTON (best price 9-4) at Tramore the other day, the latter is strongly fancied to confirm her superiority.
Although still yet to win a race, it’s noticeable that Padraig Roche’s mare has improved her performance levels since the hood has been introduced and following a promising third at Tipperary two starts ago, she bettered that finishing position by one when runner-up to Bridge Native at Waterford venue on her latest outing. Staying on strongly after the last, the daughter of Westerner just ran out of time to catch the winner on the short run-in, but with the pair well clear of two of her main rivals here today and the time figure good, she’s afforded another chance to finally get off the mark.
MERSIN (best price 5-2) has shaped very much like he’s a winner waiting to happen on his last two starts and with tonight’s increase in trip threatening to bring about even further improvement, it would come as no surprise to see him step up to the plate at the fourth time of asking.
Keeping on well from the rear of the field to finish a never-nearer fifth in a decent novice event at Wolverhampton on debut, Roger Charlton’s colt proved no match for the likes of Highest Ground and Waldkonig in an even better contest at Haydock next time out, but at the same time, he did more than enough to suggest brighter days were ahead. Up against another useful colt in the shape of Nove Roma at Newbury on his most recent outing, the son of Invincible Spirit managed to claim that valuable scalp to the tune of three lengths only to find the irremovable force Balzac just too tough to pass from the front. As you can see by his body of work, this imposing three-year-old is gradually figuring the game out and even though he faces a potentially interesting recruit to the Flat in the shape of Champion Bumper sixth Ocean Wind, he’s fancied to put his experience and fitness over his main market rival to good use.
VIOLA (best price 4-1) been in pretty choppy waters on all her three runs so far to date and now making her handicap debut off what appears a more than favourable mark, she finally gets a proper chance to show her true worth.
Mid-division in a hot maiden towards the backend of last season, James Fanshawe’s filly made her seasonal reappearance in another above-average heat at Yarmouth two months ago and although she failed to make a massive impact at the seaside venue, she did more than enough to offer encouragement for the future against horses who have gone on to make big advancements in pattern events subsequently (Katara being the main contributor). Returning to the scene of that effort 32 days ago, the daughter of Lope De Vega once again put up a bold show in a race run at a very strong pace throughout and with the winner, Almareekh, and fourth, Ice Sprite, (won off a mark of 70 on handicap debut at Newmarket) going on to endorse the form since, it would be disappointing if she couldn’t follow suit off an opening rating of 70.