Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's meetings, including a NAP at Doncaster.
POPMASTER (NAP) (best price 2-1) was slightly unlucky not to open his account at the first time of asking on turf at Pontefract 17 days ago, but now racing over a track which should really suit his stalk-and-pounce run style, Ed Walker’s gelding rates a confident vote to make amends.
A winner of both of his starts at Kempton as a two-year-old, the Gutaifan colt began his new campaign in a hot contest at Lingfield a month ago and despite not handling the track as well as hoped for, he still ran with great credit to finish a close-up third behind in-form pair, Rohaan and subsequent all-weather champ, Diligent Harry. Tried on the grass for the first time at the Yorkshire venue three weeks later, a poor draw meant the three-year-old was forced to race out on the wing for most of the contest, so in the circumstances, he did really well to hang tough and see the trip out all the way to the line. Drawn right in the middle of the pack here this afternoon, hopefully he will be dropped out in order to get some valuable early cover and given how he used to finish off his races from the back of the field at Kempton, those tactics should allow him to come through strong at the business end.
John Gosden knows the kind of horse to win this Classic trails having struck oil five times in recent times, so there’s a fair chance the Newmarket’s handler’s assessments of TRAWLERMAN (best price 5-1) are likely to be on point following his victory in a Pontefract maiden last time out.
Having his first run on turf following two placed efforts on the all-weather, the son of Golden Horn was a warm order to see off four rivals at the Yorkshire venue and even though his winning performance may have appeared mandatory at first glance, the post-race numbers reveal a totally different story. Setting off to make all the running at a good pace, the three-year-old already had his opponents in trouble a full half a mile from home and in keeping up the gallop all the way to the line, he ended up dishing out an eight length beating. Moreover, his sectionals from four out compared very favourable with the two top-quality six-furlong sprint races on the same card and considering he achieved that feat without being asked too many questions, his effort was one of a potentially top-class young stayer. Having already proven he can lengthen nicely up a stiff hill, today’s track should prove ideal and with Frankie Dettori a past master of getting the fractions right in races of this nature, the combination can prove hard to beat.
COLOUR SERGEANT (best price 11-4) cut a frustrating figure as a two-year-old, finishing runner-up on no fewer than five occasions, but it was good to see him gain ample reward for his consistency with a breakthrough victory over today’s C&D last time out and that confidence-boosting win can hopefully spawn many more in the future – with today looking like another decent opportunity.
To be fair to Ger Lyons’ colt, he was up against the likes of Van Gogh, Mac Swinney and Thunder Moon last season, so it’s probably wise to afford him some slack, and even though it was by no means a cakewalk facing the well-fancied Modus Operandi here 20 days ago, his class edge proved enough on the day. Showing an impressive turn of foot to get to his main market rival over two out, the son of Kingman exhibited a tenacious attitude to gain the day close home and with today’s flat track over 1m2f clearly playing into his strength, he can out that valuable course knowledge to good use in his bid to floor some well-regarded sorts from powerful stables.
GOLDEN VALOUR (best price 4-1) caught the eye with the way he finished off his race in a similar contest at Leopardstown last time out and with that narrow-margin defeat likely to have brought him forward nicely in terms of fitness, Richard O’Brien’s gelding can finally make a breakthrough on turf.
A winner on the all-weather at Dundalk, the five-year-old hasn’t had as much luck in eight starts on the grass and his ill fortune continued in abundance at the Dublin venue, where he met all sorts of trouble in running in the final two furlongs. Finishing full of running, the son of Kingman left the impression he would have obliged with a clear run and with today’s wide open straight course likely to give him a better opportunity to gain a smoother passage, he rates a decent proposition at the morning odds housed favourably over towards the far side of the course (low numbers held sway at the first meeting).
Katy Price had another decent set of results yesterday, adding to her already impressive recent spell, and OUT FOR JUSTICE (best price 3-1) rates a strong choice to continue her rich vein of form arriving here following an impressive victory at Chepstow last time out.
A dual winner in the summer of 2019, the eight-year-old had rather struggled to recapture the same level of form in the interim period, but as we witnessed at the Welsh venue 13 days ago, the combination of a well-run race over 2m4f on good ground suited him down to a tee and he ended up scoring with plenty in hand. In doing so, the son of Beneficial posted the fastest overall and final circuit time combined, and having also run well on a previous visit to today’s track, everything looks set fair for another positive display.