Horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's meetings.
GUNSIGHT RIDGE (best price 11-4) ran extremely well last time at Newbury in a period when Olly Murphy couldn’t buy a winner, but with the yard now flying and back on a right-handed track on good ground, the six-year-old looks to have bright prospects of returning to winning ways.
A game winner previously at Doncaster despite racing a bit awkwardly late on, the Midnight Legend gelding went to the Berkshire venue a well-supported second favourite in what looked a competitive handicap and having travelled like the best horse in the race, he ended up just getting run out of the argument by the strong-staying Gowel Road from the last. Given what the winner has achieved since and the fact conditions were far from ideal 38 days ago, his run deserved to be upgraded and with his handicap mark only tweaked just a little in the interim period, he should be primed to take advantage with a bucket load of positives seemingly in his favour.
Ultimately, Tritonic got the job done at the first time of asking at Ascot on his hurdling debut and, as a result, he’s now fancied in many quarters to go on to the Cheltenham Festival and run a big race in the Triumph Hurdle, and while that may turn out to be the case, it would also be dangerous to total dismissive of his old rival CASA LOUPI (best price 11-2) and at the prices, Gary Moore’s gelding makes far more appeal.
Based on their Flat form, one would have expected Tritonic to absolutely batter Casa Loupi but for nine tenths of the journey at the Berkshire venue it was the son of Casamento who impressed the most, travelling well and setting a strong gallop from the front, and it was only in the dying strides that the former managed to get on top. Now obviously, Alan King’s inmate is bound to improve for the experience, but who’s to say Case Loupi won’t either and if anything, he will be more suited to today’s, flatter, sharper track on good ground than his main market rival. Either way, there’s no way there should be six times the difference in price between them and the four-year-old chestnut rates a solid each-way alternative.
Probably not a vintage renewal of this Grade 2 contest and having won in four times since 2006, twice with juveniles, Alan King has more than an outside chance with his representative in this season’s event, SON OF RED (best price 18-1).
Nothing flash on the Flat, the son of French Navy, however, has taken his game to a new level since switching his attentions to hurdles and his victory on his debut at Newcastle backs up that viewpoint. Despite racing a little keenly at the Gosforth Park venue, he still found plenty for pressure to justify his position in the market and it led to connections pitching him in against a much better standard of opponent at Cheltenham next time. Although he travelled nicely at jumping’s HQ, he didn’t quite have the quality to go with the very smart Adagio in the closing stages and on that evidence, he looks more a Boodles Handicap horse than a Triumph Hurdle model. Said to have done really well physically since last seen back in December, Son Of Red needs one more run to qualify for
Cheltenham and while there’s always a slight possibility he may have more improvement to come on his first outing for 77 days, 18-1 still appears a crazy price considering the better ground and sharp track will be in his favour.
VISIONARIAN (NAP) (best price 2-1) was clearly unlucky to bump into a horse who now finds himself on the fringes of some of the fancied horses in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival at Navan last time out, but with Peter Fahey coming out of that strongly-run affair with a mark of just 124 despite running a career-high, he really ought to be going close to winning a race of this nature if the form is worth its salt.
Having his first run for 101 days and with the tongue-tie on for the first time, the son of Vision E’tat travelled with plenty of purpose at the Co Meath venue and although he couldn’t quite go with the winner on the run up the hill to the line, it was no great surprise considering the numbers the market leader was knocking out in the final half a mile. Indeed, the winner has gone on to score with plenty in hand in a listed race at Punchestown next time and with the strong belief that the six-year-old will be better served by stepping up in trip based on the fact he comes from a three-mile point-to-point background (beat subsequent hurdle winners Franigane and Tommy’s Oscar on his only start), it would be slightly disappointing if he failed to turn away a field consisting of largely exposed handicappers.