Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's meetings.
LOVING DREAM (best price 5-1) might have bumped into a potential star of the future in the shape of Noon Star at Wetherby last time and although today’s contest on paper represents a significant hike up in class, she may just prove equal to the task based on the numbers at the Yorkshire venue.
A decent winner on the all-weather previously, John and Thady Gosden’s filly was promptly stepped up in trip for her debut on grass at the Yorkshire track and although she ended up playing second fiddle, she came out of the race with great credit. Keeping on well in the latter stages, she ended up finishing well clear of the rest of the field and with her speed figure strongly hinting she’d run way beyond the level of Class 5 novice event, it’s little wonder she’s given the opportunity to see whether she has what it takes against pattern company. Similar to most of today’s field, whether she handles the rain-softened ground is obviously an unknown, but at least she has the sort of physique to suggest she might be able to cope and at the morning odds, she’s worth a small each-way interest to find out.
Time may tell SEAGULLS NEST (best price 7-2) was up against two above-average performers for a Lingfield novice event last time out and having been handed what appears a reasonably workable mark, post that effort, Mick Channon’s filly rates a strong choice to take advantage.
Well held by the smart Lost Eden in a warm novice event at the Surrey venue the time before, the daughter of Camelot ran to an even higher level in defeat based on the numbers when returning to the same track later in the month and those findings strongly suggest she’s going in the right direction. Although three of her four career starts have come on an all-weather surface, she did run with great promise on her only outing on turf as a two-year-old, and being as the conditions were on the soft side that day back in August, it least holds out some sort of hope that she will be able to cope with today’s easier ground.
SACRED RHYME (best price 9-2) ran a very commendable race on her seasonal reappearance in a hot listed fillies’ contest at Navan several weeks ago and even though she appears to be the second string of the Jessica Harrington yard according to jockey bookings, there’s more than half a chance she can take home the stable bragging rights.
Promising when fourth on her debut, the daughter of Lope De Vega proved a much more streetwise individual second time out when making no mistake in a maiden on soft ground at Thurles. Put away for the winter, she made her reappearance in the Group 3 Salsabil Stakes at the Co Kildare venue and in what turned out to be a very strongly run affair, she impressed with the way she stayed on in the latter stages to finish a creditable third. Based on the evidence of that display, there’s no doubt the chestnut filly has trained on and with the advantage of that initial run under her belt and ability to handle soft ground, she makes plenty of sense from an each-way stance with the dead eight set to go to post. There’s also a good chance that Willow will leave behind her modest display in the same race and she could easily get back on the Oaks trail, with maybe the Irish version a more viable option further down the line.
KYPRIOS (best price 7-2) still managed to land a fair race at Cork last time out despite showing a good deal of greenness in the closing stages and with the cheekpieces applied for the first time in order to iron out one or two kinks, Aidan O’Brien’s colt is fancied to book his ticket to the Derby at Epsom in a month’s time.
A good winner first time out at Galway on heavy ground, the son of Galileo was a strong fancy to back up that initial performance in a stronger contest at Newmarket on his next start, but he failed to deliver the goods, in the end running no sort of race and leaving connections a little nonplussed. Given plenty of time to get over whatever was troubling him at HQ, the three-year-old chestnut was pitched into a hot race against several previous winners at the Co Mallow after a 195-day break and, having travelled well throughout, he stayed on strongly in the closing stages to put his name down as a possible Classic contender. Coming here today to find out whether that is the case or not, hopefully the headgear has the desired effect and if that does turn out to be the case, we know he has the ability to make an impact at this level.
Everything that Andrew Balding sends to post recently seems to be winning, or if not running well, and the Kingsclere handler has a fair chance of landing another decent prize this week with SYMBOLIZE (best price 14-1) in this ultra-competitive handicap.
Fourth of 21 in the Windsor Castle on his first visit to the Berkshire venue two years ago, the son of Starspangledbanner has acquitted himself well on each of his two subsequent outings back at the same track, the latest of which was back in the Autumn when he didn’t quite see out the stiff mile on heavy ground. Previously he’s finished an honourable third in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over today’s C&D and with today’s conditions likely to somewhere similar come post time, a repeat of something close to that form would give him a major chance. Unlucky to bump into a well handicapped filly on his seasonal bow at Newmarket, that solid performance at least served the purpose of teeing him up nicely for today’s bid and with a potentially favourable draw towards the nearside (high numbers tend to dominate here on soft ground), his morning odds look quite attractive with the list of positives in his favour.