Horse racing expert Andy Holding has six tips for today's meetings.
Western Victory is likely to take all the beating back against her own sex, but one of her old rivals, RAPID RESPONSE (best price 6-1), has improved significantly enough since they last clashed to make it some sort of contest and she rates the value pick in the with and without the favourite markets.
Since beaten by Declan Queally’s mare at Roscommon over a month ago, the daughter of Network has raised her game to another level and her victory at Wexford last time out showed just how useful she can be when given her favoured soft ground. Relishing the stamina test the step up to three miles provided, Jessica Harrington’s mare travelled and jumped for fun at the Newtown Road venue and it was no great surprise, therefore, to see that she ended up clocking a fair time figure for the grade. Indeed, her final circuit was identical to the one posted by Paloma Blue (Western Victory second), who took the two-mile novice chase on the same card, so based on those findings, she clearly has a better chance of bridging the gap between herself and Western Victory than the market suggests.
CROESO CYMRAEG (best price 8-1) arrives here in rude health following a victory at his first attempt over today’s course last time out and even though a drop in trip is seemingly a slight cause for concern, the numbers he posted during that 1m3f handicap strongly suggest he may prove equal to the task.
Dropped right out the back as per usual by regular pilot Raul De Silva, James Evans’ gelding still had the entire field in front of him at the four-furlong pole, but in a sweeping move down the outside, he shot by all of his ten rivals in a short space of time to quickly assume command. Idling once establishing a clear advantage, the son of Dick Turpin had his margin whittled down by the closing Prince Llyr in the latter stages, but he left the impression he could have found more if required and his eventual winning distance of three-quarters-of-a-length in no way does him full justice. Breaking down his mid-race sectionals, they reveal he ran the final part of the contest at the Sussex track in the fastest split time of any horse on the same card, so armed with that knowledge, it’ll all boil down to whether today’s new pilot, Jimmy Quinn, times his run to perfection and gets a clear run on the six-year-old.
Gordon Elliot had to wait a little while before finally landing this prize with Wrath Of Titans in 2016, but with the monkey off his back with that victory and Potters Point the year after, confidence is high the Co Meath handler can make it three with the classy RAVENHILL (best price 11-1).
Runner-up in this race twelve months ago, the son of Winged Love has bound to have had this valuable prize on his radar ever since and with just two runs ensuing, he should arrive here fresher than most. A faller when well-fancied in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan next time, the 10-year-old made up for that untimely exit when landing the National Hunt Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival and with that success coming off the back of a 107-day layoff, it’s clear he goes particularly well off a big break. Well-suited by a well-run affair over trips beyond three miles, the rain which has fallen in the last 24 hours will make today’s examination even more of a test and with stamina very much his key component, it would be a surprise if he wasn’t vying for top honours.
A victory for Blackhill Boy here the other day served as a reminder of how well Eric McNamara’s horses often run at the Harvest Festival and having landed this prize three times in the past, INTERNAL TRANSFER (best price 14-1) rates a must for the shortlist.
Placed in two hurdles races at the fixture back in 2018, the son of Kayf Tara was teed up for a tilt at this contest last season and despite having only had two previous starts over fences, he overcame his inexperience to finish a creditable fourth. The fact that he’s been lightly raced since strongly suggests he’s been geared up for a crack to improve on his finishing position this time around, and following a run over hurdles at Limerick two months to blow away the cobwebs, the nine-year-old is likely to be at fever pitch on his return visit to the Kerry venue.
MEDIA STORM (best price 9-2) ran with a good deal more promise than his finishing position suggested on his first start for new connections at Chelmsford 20 days ago and with a career record pointing towards him being more at home on an all-weather surface, Marco Botti’s gelding is fancied to press home that viewpoint.
A smooth winner on debut for David Simcock, the three-year-old chestnut has taken a little while to bed in to his new surroundings based on his subsequent results, but with the blinkers fitted for the first time at the Essex venue last time out, he gave out much more positive signals. Towards the rear turning for home in a keenly-contested 1m2f contest, the son of Night Of Thunder stayed on best of all of those off the pace and with his closing three-furlong sectional the quickest among those who fought out the finish, his performance deserved upgrading. Likely to be closer to the speed tonight because of the small field, hopefully his turn of foot cane be seen to even greater advantage.