Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's meetings.
The Spring Cup at Newbury was about as close as you will find a handicap to Group race standard (Oh This Is Us won at pattern level since) and having finished a creditable fourth to Nugget at the Berkshire track, REVICH (best price 9-4) makes plenty of sense now back over a course where he is normally deadly accurate.
A creditable sixth in the Lincoln on his seasonal bow despite fluffing the start, Richard Spencer’s gelding went to post one of the outsiders 19 days ago, but despite being totally overlooked in the market, he acquitted himself with great honour. Once again a little tardy coming out of the gates, the five-year-old worked himself into a challenging position two from home and from that point he stayed on strongly all the way to the line to only get beaten just under three lengths behind horses who are likely to be rated in the 100’s sooner rather than later. A back-to-back winner over today’s course last August, it’s noticeable that on each occasion there was plenty of give underfoot and having also gone well on the Roodeye even when the application of a visor wasn’t in place, it’s clear he loves a tight, turning, left-handed track. Although his tendency of late is to dwell coming out of the stalls, he did make all on the second of his two victories back here in the Autumn, so having been handed the golden ticket from the inside gate, let’s hope he’s read the script prior to the starter pressing his button.
As ever, a massive conundrum for punters to solve, but there’s decent chance that both NOT SO SLEEPY (best price 7-1) and ROCHESTER HOUSE (best price 22-1) will have some sort of say in the argument on the pick of their recent form.
The draw is one of the big talking points surrounding the 2m2f event, but having a good stall position is all well and good providing your horse has sufficient gate speed to take advantage. Based on what we’ve seen of Not So Speedy of late, being slow into stride just isn’t an option, so despite being draw in a double-figure box, he’s unlikely to be anything other than handy early. That run style has certainly being the case with Hughie Morrison’s gelding in the last two running’s of the Cesarewitch at Newmarket and despite being incredibly keen for the thick end of two miles each time, he’s somehow kept on valiantly to finish in the frame. In between times, the nine-year-old chestnut has been plying his trade to a very high standard over hurdles (seventh in this season’s Champion Hurdle) and it’s noticeable that some of his better efforts have come when dominating big-field handicaps. A course winner here in the past with a run-style that should allow him to race in the box seat, a big run looks on the cards with conditions to suit.
The latter is one of several major contenders for last year’s winning stable, and Mark Johnston’s gelding arguably looks the one overpriced out of the quintet the Middleham handler sends to post. Just touched off after bidding to make all the running in the big 2m4f handicap at Glorious Goodwood last season, the son of Galileo didn’t have to wait too long to gain his just rewards for the gallant effort when he scored in tidy fashion at Ascot on his final start of the campaign. A winner on the all-weather during a brief spell in the winter, the five-year-old warmed up for a tilt at this prize with an excellent effort in a quality staying handicap at Newbury and with that display likely to have brought somewhere close to fever-pitch, a big run is anticipated from another horse who likes to
race handy. Last season’s Ascot Stakes hero and former C&D winner, Coeur De Lion rates a big player along with Hochfield who caught the eye with a strong finish over an inadequate trip at Musselburgh last time.
15:05 Market Rasen
AN TAILLIUR (7-4) shaped like a sharp two miles didn’t really play into his strengths at Taunton last time out and now racing over a trip which should turn out to be much more suitable, Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding rates a strong choice to get off the mark against this sort of opposition.
Promising in several high-quality novice hurdles won by the likes of Gallyhill, Red Rookie and Quinta Do Mar, the five-year-old grey came out of those contest with what appeared a workable mark of 91 and he was well-backed to back up that view on his first attempt in handicap company at the West Country track 29 days ago. Racing on good-to-firm ground for the first time, unsurprisingly he found himself slightly outpaced as the field left the back straight and as it proved, the amount of ground he relinquished he could never make up. That said, he did finish his race off in pretty eye-catching fashion and now racing over a full half a mile further on slightly easier ground, the son of Authorized looks to have been presented with a golden opportunity if the second favourite Lucky Icon is anything to go by (never went a yard here last time out).
TIGER BEETLE (best price 6-1) is one of a few colts who holds plenty of potential for the future and Sir Michael Stoute’s inmate is fancied to build on his highly promising display over today’s C&D from a month ago.
Slowly away at the Midland venue, the son of Camelot found himself towards the rear of the pack as the field turned for home, but doing plenty of nice work in the final half a mile, he was noted going on quite strongly at the line to finish a never-nearer fifth behind the useful Third Realm. Looking at the backend sectionals from that above-average affair 20 days ago, the numbers suggest he was asked to try and close down the main players who were roughly posting the same speed as the 5f sprinters so, in light of that information, his performance deserves extra praise. Potentially having his third start for a handicap mark today, this well-made three-year-old clearly comes with a degree of risk, but providing he is allowed to run on his merits, the ability he exhibited here last time should be good enough to see him the frame at the very least. One To follow.