Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has three tips for today's meetings, including a NAP at Exeter.
QUICK DRAW (best price 5-1) finally came good at the sixth time of asking in the first-time cheekpieces at Chepstow last time out and a repeat of something close to the same level of form should see Tom Lacey’s gelding in the shake-up once again.
A non-stayer when a well-backed favourite over three miles at Doncaster the time before (race has worked out well), the son of Getaway was dropped back half a mile at the welsh venue a month later and having travelled nicely off a sound pace throughout, he kept on well in the closing stages to see off a series of persistent challengers. Looking at the numbers from that competitive handicap several weeks ago, not only did it produce the fastest furlong-per-furlong time on the card, the final circuit time was also quicker than the one achieved by Brewers Project in the two-mile novices’ hurdle an hour later, so it was clearly a decent contest for the grade. Up just 3lb and on similar ground, the lightly-raced five-year-old – who also has a solid run against his name going right-handed – makes plenty of each-way appeal at the morning odds, with most firms offering four places.
LIGNOU (best price 3-1) didn’t run too badly in a much tougher race than the one he faces this afternoon and with good ground the key to all his best performances, conditions and step back up in trip should see Noel Meade’s go close to adding to his sole victory over hurdles.
A winner over today’s trip at Gowran under similar fast ground back in the Autumn, the six-year-old had to endure soft winter conditions for his next three starts and his level of performance, as a result, took a dramatic nose-dive. Back on ground close to his liking at Fairyhouse last time out, the son of Rajsaman was able to run to a much higher standard in a viciously-competitive handicap and if it wasn’t for the fact he got a little tired in the closing stages after being off the track for 140 days, he might have bustled up the main players. Interestingly, he had one of his main market rivals, Robinnia, well beaten off that day, and now back under his optimum conditions, this former dual Flat winner can regain the winning thread.
For much of the season, the Katy Price team has been largely out of form, but all of a sudden, things are looking a good deal brighter for the Powys handler and one of the horses responsible for the recent upswing, ÉCLAIR DES SABLONS (NAP) (best price 3-1), is fancied to repeat his C&D win of last week.
Having seemingly lost his way completely following a productive time of things back in 2019, the son of Noriot was well-backed on his return visit to one of his better previous career efforts and having raced prominently throughout, he stayed on strongly on the run-in to repel the persistent challenge of Merry Berry. Time figure-wise, he posted the best set of numbers of all the races on the hurdle track that evening and with several of his market rivals tonight having shaky-looking profiles, the seven-year-old has a golden opportunity to follow up.