Our horse racing expert, Andy Holding, has seven selections for today's racing.
Hopefully the meeting is given the green light despite all the rain in the area throughout the last few days and of those who will be least inconvenienced by the testing underfoot conditions ECOEYE (best price 3-1) has most in his favour.
First and foremost, Augustine Leahy’s gelding is a four-time heavy ground winner, secondly, he’s proven around today’s tight, left-handed venue and thirdly, he has a favourable low draw. On the evidence of the action here Tuesday, a good break and racing prominently was certainly no negative and having made all to success at Roscommon last time out, the son of Echo Of Light can repeat the dose if staying out of trouble.
Some powerful southern stables are represented in this above-average looking novices’ hurdles, but there’s every chance CHECK MY PULSE (best price 9-2) will fly the flag boldly for the north if he can run somewhere near the level he did when scoring in tidy fashion at Uttoxeter last time out.
Placed on his first two outings over hurdles since joining new connections, Rebecca Menzies’ gelding went to the Midland venue 38 days ago as the only conceivable threat on form and according to the betting to lower the colours of the hitherto unbeaten Sangha River and having travelled well in behind the long odds-on favourite throughout, he ultimate proved way too good for his much vaunted rival. Staying on extremely well in the latter stages, the son of Dragon Pulse clocked a fair overall time and final lap sectionals for the grade and if he can go close to duplicated that performance back to a track where he has already gone well in the past, he should be good enough to hit the frame at the very least.
A competitive field assembled for this premier handicap but there’s a fair chance the progressive and in-form three-year-olds, BARON SAMEDI (best price 7-2) and LAYFAYETTE (best price 7-1) will have too many guns for their older counterparts and with it being very difficult to the split the pair, two win bets against the field is the advice.
The former has really found his stride in recent times since being gelded and following a breakthrough victory at Cork a month ago, two impressive wins have followed at Down Royal and Navan. On each occasion, Joseph O’Brien’s inmate has simply blown away his opposition in the manner of a vastly-improved three-year-old and even though the handicapper has done his best to try and rejig his sums, he still might have enough in hand to have the last laugh.
The latter finally came good at this sort of level when scoring in a very fast time last time out at Naas and with the extra trip and ground patently the key to his winning performance at the Co Kildare venue, he should be seen to equally good effect over 1m4f here this afternoon.
With the greatest respect to Zoran, it’s difficult to see what he has achieved in his career that would make him a shade of odds on in some places this morning, and in any case, he is up against a rival in the shape of BOTTOM BAY (best price 2-1) who arrives here in the peak of his powers.
Placed on his first two starts in handicaps, Michael Bell’s gelding was then fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time on his next assignment at Beverley and in what turned out to be a keenly-contested and well-run extended mile handicap, he clocked a very fast time in seeing off some useful and established older horses. Back to the scene of his victory a month later, the son of Oasis Dream repeated the dose in gritty fashion and once again, he posted another excellent time figure for the grade. Off since to undergo wind surgery, the in-form three-year-old returns to action raring to go again and he looks in every way, shape or form the wrong price based on his upwardly mobile profile and should be played accordingly.
Time may tell that GREYCOAT (best price 7-2) was beaten by two very smart colts at Chelmsford last time out and with an opening mark of 79 not too severe if that theory is correct, James Fanshawe’s grey is fancied to make his handicap debut a winning one.
Extremely promising on his debut last season when noted doing dome sterling late work from the rear of the field, the son of Lethal Force returned to the scene of that effort after a 316-day absence earlier this month and although he couldn’t quite better his finishing position, there’s little doubt he improved his levels of performance. Keeping on stoutly all the way to the line, he managed to keep tabs on a couple of well-regarded sorts from powerful stables and with one of those, Taqareer, creating a favourable impression when landing the odds at Lingfield the other day, the form looks pretty tidy in context of tonight’s affair.