Horse racing expert Andy Holding has three tips for today's meetings, including a NAP running at Southwell.
A trappy-looking rated novices’ hurdle, but it’s one STAND OFF (best price 11-2) should at least be competitive in based on his overall profile at today’s venue.
A promising fourth in a useful bumper here last season, Philip Fenton’s gelding was well-backed to make a winning start over hurdles back at the Powerstown Park track in November, but after looking threatening on the run down to the second last, his run rather petered out and he eventually could only manage fifth behind one of today’s rivals, Conqueredalofeurope. Considering that was his first outing for 233-days, confidence was high that he would deliver the goods at the second time of asking and this time he made no mistake, staying on strongly on the run-in to repel the late challenge of the well-punted Awesome Shirocco. Sure to be at peak fitness now with those two runs under his belt, the mere fact that he’s run around today’s track three times has to be considered as some sort of advantage and, as a result, he makes plenty of each-way appeal at the morning odds.
Headgear and a return to front running tactics allowed BALLYBREEN (best price 5-2) to bounce back to his very best form at Fontwell last week and with connections well within their rights to recycle the eight-year-old in a bid to follow up, a copy and paste performance looks on the cards.
At his most dominant when on a roll at the turn of the year last season, Evan Williams’ gelding looked a pale imitation of the horse we saw land four races in the space of three months on his first two outings in November, but with the reapplication of blinkers on, the son of Gold Well had his mind refocused well enough to see him boss the race at the Sussex venue five days ago. Although a return to action so soon after a gruelling ordeal would normally raise concerns, it’s worth noting he ran out an impressive 11 lengths winner at Taunton last season six days after racing over three miles in heavy ground over today’s venue and having scored over the same C&D two months earlier, the in-form stayer should once again give another good account.
PERFECT SWISS (NAP) (best price 2-1) would have let down many of his supporters here last time out, but he actually didn’t run as badly as first feared accordingly to the time figure of the race and with seemingly nothing to fear on his return to the Midland venue, he might just be able to recoup losses.
Probably slightly flattered given how the race panned out the time before, his eight lengths winning margin was still enough to send many punters into a spin and so he was sent off as a red-hot 11-10 favourite to brush aside just a mandatory penalty five days later. Unfortunately, he had the misfortune to bump into the revitalised Star Of St James who never let his foot off the gas for one second and try as he might, Tim Easterby’s gelding could never land a meaningful blow. Despite getting his backside whipped, he still ran close to a career high and with the drop back to seven furlongs not seen as a massive inconvenience given the way he travels through his races, the son of Swiss Spirit can get back into the winning groove.