Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's action.
BONNEVAL (best price 11-4) has been plying his trade to a decent standard on the all-weather so far this season without yet managing to get his head in front, but that could be about to change now returning to a surface which saw him run out an impressive winner at Redcar last term.
No match for the useful Troll Peninsula on his first outing for 214 days at Kempton back in March, James Fanshawe’s gelding improved for that outing to finish runner-up to course specialist Tahitian Prince two months later and that performance sparked a riot in the pre-race market to his latest start at the Sunbury venue. Unfortunately for his supporters, the son of Siyouni couldn’t quite live up to favouritism 16 days ago, but at the same time, he did more than enough to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he gets his head back in front again. Good on the numbers that day despite the defeat, the light-raced four-year-old has a run style to suggest he will be suited by today’s stiff mile and, also likely to appreciate the ground better than most, he rates a decent bet at the morning odds.
BALTINGLASS HILL (best price 8-1) was arguably an unlucky loser at Navan last time out and with similar conditions looking set fair for this evening’s contest, there’s a reasonable chance that compensation awaits.
Having not shown very much in five previous outings over hurdles, it was easy to see why Philip Rothwell’s gelding was sent off a 40-1 chance at the Co Meath venue, but if it wasn’t for a bad mistake at the last that caused the saddle to slip on the run-in, there’s little doubt he would have broken his maiden tag. Clearly a totally different proposition to the one we’d seen before on account of being more prominently ridden on better ground, hopefully similar tactics can lead to another positive result.
SUCELLUS (best price 9-2) clocked a smart speed figure for the grade at Haydock last week and he rates a confident choice to supplement those gains around a track that should play into his strengths.
Held up towards the rear at the Merseyside venue, Oliver Greenall’s gelding made smooth headway to race just behind the leaders two out and even though he momentarily looked as though he might not receive a clear run, he quickened up smartly to move nicely clear of his opposition once the gap appeared. Clearly well suit by a well-run turning seven-furlongs, he should get a similar pace here this evening courtesy of several confirmed front runners in the field, so it’s just a case of whether he gets the rub of the green at the right moment in the hands of tonight’s amateur pilot.
Connections of NODOUTABOUTTHAT (best price 10-1) have every right to feel a little frustrated of late, as their charge hasn’t quite had the rub of the green, but hopefully tonight will be the night when everything falls into place for this talented mare at this level.
An easy winner at Kilbeggan last September, the daughter of Oscar has finished a narrow runner-up on two of her last three starts, latterly when she looked for all the world as she was going to score in a competitive lady rider event at Punchestown. Held up to towards the rear at the Co Kildare venue, she worked her way through the field to hold every chance at the last only to find the rallying Junior Rattler too strong for her on the run-in. That said, the pair did finish miles clear of the rest and when you also consider the time figure associated with the race, it’s hard to say anything negative about the level of performance – especially at 0-110 grade. Taking into account all her runs, it’s fair to say she can be a little bit of a tricky customer, but there’s also little doubt she has plenty of ability for a horse of her current rating and for the that reason, she has to be worth a reasonable each-way interest at her morning odds – especially with most firms offering five places.
FREEWHEELIN DYLAN (best price 7-1) sprung a massive surprise when he captured the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse back in April and even though tonight’s task will in no way be an easy one up against several in-form and fit summer jumping types, Dermot McLoughlin’s gelding is sure to give it a good rattle.
Sent off 150-1 for the ultra-competitive 3m5f handicap at the Co Meath track, the nine-year-old seemed to face an impossible task up against some of the best Irish stayers at that level around, but after getting into a lovely rhythm right from the start. It was soon apparent he was about to easily outrun his odds. Maintaining the strong gallop throughout, he had enough in reserve to fend off the challenge of Run wild Fred on the run-in and with the likes of Latest Exhibition, Off You Go and Coko Beach to name but a few, trailing in his wake, he took his levels of performances to an even greater height. Probably feeling the effects of that effort when fourth in a 3m7f handicap at Punchestown a month later, he now returns to a track where his form figures read an impressive 212711 and, safe in the knowledge that he was able to capture this prize last year despite being off the track for a similar length of time, confidence is high his astute trainer will have left no stone unturned in his bid to retain his crown.