Andy Holding has three selections for Monday's action.
14:20 Newton Abbot
PILBARA (best price 5-1) didn’t shape too badly on his first start for new connections over fences here last time out and with Suzy Smith’s gelding having shown plenty of top-quality form over hurdles in Ireland under similar conditions he’s likely to face this afternoon, he makes plenty of appeal at his morning odds.
Probably bought to do a job as a chaser since leaving Emmet Mullins, the son of Tiger Groom quickly reverts back to the smaller obstacles having not fenced with total accuracy on his UK debut, but even allowing for the fact he was fluent at times, he still ran well enough to suggest he can pay his way in his new environment. Keeping on well in the final half a mile, he just couldn’t quite get to grips with the pacy Darling Matrix around the tight, inner chase track at the Wets Country venue and in the end, he had to settle for an honourable second. Looking back at some of his better performance over hurdles in the past, it’s noticeable that he ran extremely well in an ultra-hot handicap at the Galway Festival last season and in finishing a creditable fifth behind Great White Shark, he was only two places behind subsequent Stayers Hurdle hero, Flooring Porter. A soft ground winner over three miles at Cork, the six-year-old should be equally at home, if not better over today’s slightly shorter trip, and with that all-important recent run under his belt, a big run looks on the cards.
KARATAYKA (best price 5-1) has offered up plenty of encouragement for the future on both starts so far to date and in what appears a fairly modest maiden, Michael Halford’s filly has a decent chance to break her duck at the third time of asking.
A never-nearer fifth on her debut at Gowran after dwelling at the start, the daughter of Dariyan was once again a little tardy at the gates for her latest encounter at Roscommon and, as a result, she could ultimately never quite get on terms with all-the-way winner La Jaconde (rated 90) around a track that favours horses up with the speed. That said, she came home well enough to strongly suggest there’s plenty of hope for the future and with tonight’s extra yardage likely to see her in an even better light, this promising three-year-old rates a solid each-way recommendation at the morning prices.