17:00 Carlisle

A tricky race to have an overly dogmatic view with the developments of the Iain Jardine-based four-runner gamble culminating with Flood Defence (a mad-looking 11-10 poke in places at the time of writing) as the final leg of the Yankee, but that aside, ZIHAAM (best price 13-2) has strong claims of his own whatever the fate of the other participants.

0-20 going left-handed but 8-26 right-handed, it’s no surprise to see two of his favourite venues being Beverley and today’s course, with the stiff uphill climb associated with each track clearly playing into his strengths. Returning to the scene of the former venue after last being successful there back in September, Roger Fell’s gelding once again came to life on the Westwood with a performance of some dominance a month ago. Held up towards the rear after his usual slow start, the son of Dutch Art came with a powerful run once meeting the rising ground and by the time he’d hit the furlong pole, the end result was inevitable. Although the going report according to the Racing Post analysis suggested the ground was good, all the jockey who rode in the race reported the conditions to be closer to heavy by the time they’d run the sixth race so, with all the rain around in the last 24 hours, the seven-year-old should be in his element. Moreover, the way he’s shaped on his last two starts – including last time out back at the same track – strongly suggested he’s crying out for a longer trip and having already scored over today’s C&D in the past, a big run looks on the cards.
 

Zihaam - 1pt e/w @ 13/2

19:05 Leicester

SPANISH STAR (NAP) (best price 7-1) has a pretty useful record of 2331133103 when the going has the word ‘soft’ in the description and following a pleasing comeback in a similar race to today’s at Ascot just over a week ago, Patrick Chamings’ gelding should be cherry-ripe for another positive show.
Slow away and slightly hampered coming out of the gates at the Berkshire track, the six-year-old found himself on the back foot from an early stage, so even though he did extremely well to finish a respectable third, he was always fighting a losing battle against two of today’s rivals, Little Boy Blue and Global Esteem. Having his first run for 185 days that day, he was also entitled to need the run, so hopefully with that all-important run under his belt he will be a good deal sharper in all departments this time around. A ready winner on his only other previous outing over today’s C&D, the son of Requinto revelled in the testing conditions that day and with the likelihood of further showers during the course of the afternoon and evening set to change the going at some stage, the more his chances will increase. 
 

Spanish Star - 1pt e/w @ 7/1