Horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's meetings, including a NAP at Dundalk.
BARNAVIDDAUN (best price 12-1) arrives here fresh having missed a couple of intended engagements at the Cheltenham festival and providing he’s in the same sort of shape which saw him dish out a sound beating to a whole host of top-notch Irish handicappers at Navan when last seen, David Bridgwater’s new acquisition can go well at a nice price.
Runner-up in the hugely competitive Irish Red Mills EBF Auction Series Final at Punchestown back in October, the son of Scorpion was well backed to make amends at the Co Meath venue a month later, and he duly delivered. Racing hard on the speed throughout, he picked up the running going well on the run down to two out and despite wandering around on the climb to the line, he still had enough in the locker to repel the well-backed Damalisque. Switched from Thomas Mullins to his new base in the interim with a view to going chasing long term, this well-made eight-year-old is well worth a crack or two at some decent pots over hurdles before that day arrives, with today a good opportunity to get the ball rolling.
The decision to run ROKSANA (best price 11-2) back in trip against the very best mares at the Cheltenham Festival rather backfired, but now returning to her optimum conditions at a track where she’s thrived in the past, Dan Skelton’s charge looks set to put up another brave fight.
Seen to best effect when ridden chilly over three miles, connections fell for the old three-card-trick off trying to ride her handily in the 2m4f event 25 days ago and as we all know, those tactics usually end up being a one-way ticket to defeat for ostensibly a stayer. Delivered with almost precision timing in this race two years ago, she only just failed to scoop the big prize when just nutted by If The Cap Fits in the shadows of the post and it’s a pretty safe bet that she will be ridden with a view to challenge as late as possible again. Not too much to find with Thyme Hill and Paisley Park on their Ascot clash and with form figure here of 222, the daughter of Dubal Destination rates as about as cast-iron an each-way bet as you will find.
Kim Bailey was desperately unlucky not to land a Grade 1 here yesterday, but compensation of sorts awaits HAPPYGOLUCKY (best price 7-2) who looks tailor made for this track.
A strong fancy for the big three-mile handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival, everything seemed to be going according to the script until the seven-year-old made a bad mistake at the last and although he rallied well enough to the cause on the climb uphill to the line, the strong-staying Vintage Clouds had gone beyond recall. Other than that untimely error, he had jumped pretty well in his first proper examination in a big field and with a typically forceful ride from David Bass likely to be the order of the day once again, the son of Jeremy is fancied to sign off for the season in the best possible fashion.
KINCH (NAP) (best price 10-3) has a little bit to find with Is That Love on their latest clash, but with the step up in trip sure to suit and a better draw than he was just over a week ago, Johnny Levin’s gelding has a sporting chance of turning the tables.
Drawn right out in the cheap seats at the Co Lough track, the five-year-old naturally was dropped right out in order to provide him with the best possible chance of running some sort of race but, as a result, it meant he was well behind as the field turned for home. Facing what looked an impossible task at the three-furlong pole, to the son of Dark Angel’s great credit he managed to eat into the deficit down the straight and by the time he’d hit the line, he’d somehow clawed his way into a podium finish. Running the last portion of the race quicker than his old rival, he should benefit from stepping up to a mile and providing he breaks on terms and gets himself into a reasonable striking position turning for home, he should end up being a big player at the business end.
Balco Coastal created a huge impression when scoring in a big time figure at Kempton on his rules debut and providing he handles the track, this gorgeous chasing type looks the one to beat. If there is to be a joker in the pack, however, it might come from an unlikely source in the shape of CHARLIE’S GLANCE (best price 16-1) and he shouldn’t be underestimated just because he hails from a small outfit.
Well punted from 100-1 in the morning to his closing SP of 14-1 at Newbury on debut, clearly Andrew Martin’s inmate was expected to outrun his odds and as things transpired, he did pretty much what the market anticipated. Always travelling well in behind a decent pace set by the experienced Silent Revolution, the five-year-old cruised up to the front-runner going best three out and from that point onwards, he maintained a strong gallop all the way to the line (did drift a little to his left in the closing stages). Seemingly well-suited by an end-to-end gallop on a flat, left-handed track, this future chasing type has enough quality to cause a bit of an upset.