After a winner and a place yesterday, horse racing expert Andy Holding has four tips for today's meetings.
THE GREY FALCO (best price 11-1) tried in vain to match strides with the very smart Minella Drama at Bangor last time out, but as the winner is by some way the best two-mile novice housed north of the Midlands, Alistair Ralph’s gelding should find today’s task a little more in his ballpark.
Despite his fairly low rating and his love for heavy ground, he comes here rather under the radar, with the sexy profiles and bigger yards dominating the betting landscape, but it could be dangerous to assume this fella has plenty to find because the nuts and bolts of his performances suggest he simply hasn’t. Seen to good effect when encountering proper testing conditions for the first time on hurdling debut at Chepstow, he lowered the colours of some well-regarded types, and although he got put his place at the North Welsh 41 days ago, the time figure of the race in question actually proves he ran to an even higher standard in defeat. Therefore, with several of his rivals today making their hurdling debuts and not guaranteed to handle the ground, the son of Falco can punch way above his weight for local connections.
The mere fact Wincanton had to survive an 8.00am inspection due to potential waterlogging tells you all you need to know about what conditions are likely to be at the West Country venue, but that shouldn’t bother SUPREME ESCAPE (NAP) (best price 2-1) in the slightest and he rates a solid choice to continue his climb up the ladder.
Disappointing on his chase debut at Chepstow back in November when finding the two-mile journey way too sharp, Evan Williams’ gelding was upped in trip back at the same venue a month later and the results were startling. Noted going well behind what was a strong pace, the son of Milan found loads for pressure to wear down the smooth-travelling Faustinovick on the long run-in (by-passed the last) and with the pair pulling miles clear of the rest (23 lengths), the form looks watertight. Indeed, not only was the overall speed figure the best on the card, the final lap time of the front two was six seconds better than subsequent impressive winner Ask Me Early, which puts into some sort of context the fractions they were knocking out in the final mile or so. Based on his previous endeavours in the point field and over hurdles, he appears to be crying out for a proper test and with today’s conditions likely to prove just the examination he requires, the seven-year-old can justify his position down the front end of the market.
GULLIVER (best price 9-2) seems to have been around forever, even though he’s still only seven, but he appears to retain all his old enthusiasm for the game and based on his latest effort at Kempton, he has a fine chance of rolling back the years.
A winner just once during the Flat turf season, when his customary late flurry saw him come from last to first to beat a 20-strong field at York, David O’Meara’s gelding has proven over the years he’s just as effective on the all-weather with four wins, as many seconds and three third-place finishes testify. Indeed, another late charge saw him get within half a length of the in-form sprinter and old rival Tranchee at the Sunbury venue and that performance after a 60-day layoff should set him up nicely for several more encounters throughout the remainder of the winter campaign. Although better known as a six-furlong specialist, he shapes likes he may require a little further as he gets older and with a C&D victory to his name a reminder of that theory, the son of Sayif isn’t the dumbest option in a wide-open affair.