Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's meetings, including a NAP.
MONDAMMEJ (best price 11-2) proved he is just as effective on turf as he is on an all-weather surface at Pontefract last time out and this strong-travelling four-year-old has bagged a decent draw in order for him to be a big player in this opening sprint handicap.
Described as a bit of a ‘hot-head’ by connections, his phobia of the stalls has sometimes prevented him from maximising his ability, but there was nothing wrong with his demeanour beforehand at the Yorkshire track and the end product was there for all to see. Always travelling easily in behind a very strong pace set 17 days ago, Anthony Brittain’s gelding showed sharp turn of foot in the latter stages to come right away from a competitive field and with all of the numbers from that well-run affair stacking up to suggest it was a decent race of its kind, there’s no reason to doubt his overall performance. Nicely drawn for a horse who likes to get plenty of early cover, another likely strong gallop should ensure he has the perfect set up for his kick finish at the business end.
Connections FOXES TALES (best price 7-1) were extremely unlucky not to capture this prize the last time it was run when Fox Chairman endured an horrific run through in the closing stages, so with some unfinished business firmly at the back of their minds, the Kingpower set-up have a decent chance to atone with a colt who created a favourable impression in victory at Newbury last time out.
A massive eye-catcher on his only start as a two-year-old on the all-weather at Kempton, Andrew Balding’s colt was well backed to confirm the impression he created that day on his seasonal bow at Newbury a month ago. Settling in behind his main market rival Counsel from an early stage, the son of Zoffany looked to be fighting a losing battle until picking up really strong in the closing stages and by the time he’d hit the line, he was well on top. Shaping as though he is going to shine even more brightly in a better race where the overall pace is stronger, today provides him with the ideal opportunity to exercise that theory and at the morning odds, he’s well worth a small interest to see whether he has what it takes for pattern company.
GLIMPSE OF GALA (best price 3-1) has been in pretty choppy waters on her last two starts in high-quality bumpers and with today’s contest likely to be run a stride or two slower that what she’s been use to of late, Charlie Longsdon’s mare should easily be good enough to make some sort of impact on her first try over hurdles.
Although she’s yet to win a race, she has been up against the likes of Ishkara Lady, Elle Est Belle, Allavina and Rainyday Woman to name but a few, not to mention a whole host of top-class mares in Aintree’s listed bumper on her most recent start. Not disgraced by any means in the latter-named event, the daughter of now goes over hurdles in a bid to break her maiden status and providing she takes to her new vocation, her ability should count for plenty in the final analysis.
SONNING (NAP) (best price 2-1) left the impression he has slightly more in hand than his official winning margin suggested at Beverley on his seasonal return and he’s fancied to press home that viewpoint over a trip and ground that should suit.
Promising in a couple of soft ground maidens towards the backend of last season, including one against Derby fancy Adayar, Alan King’s inmate rounded off the campaign with an eye-catching effort in a warm all-weather contest at Kempton, keeping on from the back of the field to finish a never-nearer seventh behind subsequent UAE Derby hero, Rebel’s Romance. Gelded over the winter, the three-year-old grey made his reappearance in a well-contested handicap off what appeared a reasonable opening mark and having good headway to race just behind the leaders at the two-furlong pole, he stayed on best of all to claim the spoils close home. Time figure-wise, the son of The Gurkha ended up posting the fastest furlong-per-furlong time on the seven-race card and with the distinct possibility of even more to come now racing on easier ground and over further, he rates a confident choice to keep his progressive profile moving in the right direction.