Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has four tips for today's meetings, including a NAP at Chepstow.
COUL KAT (NAP) (best price 13-10) was only just touched off when making a brave attempt to make at Epsom last week, but now heading back to a track that has served him well in the past, Rod Millman’s gelding is fancied to make amends.
Winner of two of his seven starts last season and runner-up in three others, the son of Coulsty began his campaign in what appeared a hot race on paper at the Surrey venue, but he looked to have the race stone cold until a late thrust by the coolly-ridden Patient Dream came and spoilt the party. That said, it was still a fair return on his first run for 183 days and with the time figure of the race pretty good for the grade, it would be disappointing if he couldn’t take advantage of this much weaker contest.
Nelson Gay won as he pleased at Sandown last week and he’s bound to be a popular choice in his bid to repeat the dose, but whether he should be as far clear in the betting against the similarly progressive PEERLESS (best price 7-2) is open to question and Ed Walker’s gelding easily rates the value option of the pair.
A progressive juvenile towards the backend of last season, the son of Kodiac was quite easy to back on his seasonal bow at Nottingham 13 days ago but despite his frailties in the market, he proved good enough to see off a competitive field. Always travelling well behind a strong pace set by Atiyah, the three-year-old impressed with the smart turn of foot he exhibited late on and on the evidence of that display, he looked a sprinter to keep on side. Hailing from a yard who have some serious sprinting talent at their disposal such as Starman, Came From The Dark and Great Ambassador, the Upper Lambourn handler may have another on his hands who climbs through the ranks and it would come as a surprise if he’s doesn’t leave his current mark of 75 well behind in the coming months.
Honeysuckle’s dominant display in the Champion Hurdle was one of the defining moments of the Cheltenham Festival, but since that day back in March, it’s been noticeable the downswing in some of her yard’s horses that ran during that week since, so this may not turn out to be as straightforward as the market suggests if she follows the same trends. She still may prove good to win, but the logical and far safer option at the prices therefore, is to side with one who chased her home 45 days ago, SHARJAH (best price 9-1), in the belief that he should be good enough to make the frame whatever the fate of his old rival.
As we’ve witnessed several times during his illustrious career, Willie Mullins’ gelding is capable of hitting the ball out of the park (on the figures) when he has his ideal conditions and today represents another golden opportunity to shine. Best when coming off a strong pace on a relatively sharp track on good ground – the inside course at Leopardstown being a prime example – the son of Doctor Dino is just as effective going right-handed, as he proved when he lowered the colours of Faugheen over today’s C&D in his prime three years ago. Since then, the eight-year-old has netted three Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle’s and yet he’s still to receive the credit his performances deserve. Despite not particularly suited by Cheltenham, he’s still had the class to finish runner-up in back-to-back Champion Hurdles and considering the ground would have been far from ideal on each occasion, his efforts deserve extra praise. In short, if ever he’s going to beat the mighty mare, today might just be the day and at the morning odds, he makes plenty of each-way appeal with hopefully the dead eight going to post.
M C MULDOON (best price 10-3) proved no match for stable mate Echoers In Rain at Fairyhouse last time out, but even getting beaten 15 lengths at the Co Meath track still reads well in the context of today’s race and he rates a strong choice to keep the remarkable run of form going for his yard this week.
A quality performer on the Flat when in the care of Peter Chapple-Hyam, the son of Mastercraftsman has taken well to his new vocation and after a pleasing effort on his first spin over hurdles in a hot novice event at Leopardstown, he duly made no mistake at the second time of asking at Fairyhouse. Fitted with the hood on that occasion, the grey gelding had the same headgear in place on his return to the Co Meath venue last time out and he proved best of the rest when chasing home his impressive and subsequent Grade 1 heroine. Although he has a little to find strictly speaking with his main market threat, Keskonrisk, who has twice run well at Grade 1 level, the minimum trip might just suit this particular six-year-old better and in any case, the mere fact he comes from a yard who, even by their standards have taken their game to another level this week, might just be enough to tip the balance in his favour.