Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has four tips for today's action.
ONEFORTHEGUTTER (best price 9-1) may have caused a shock when scoring on debut at 25-1, but the time figure he posted suggested there was no fluke about his success and he’s fancied to play the giant-killing role once again this tougher assignment.
Slowly away at the Merseyside track, Ian Williams’ colt soon made up the lost leeway to race keenly in behind the strong pace set by halfway and then when push came to shove towards the business end, he knuckled down to the task at hand to out-battle similar debutante, Spacer. Nicely clear of the pre-race form choice, Falls Of Rome, the son of Muhaarar also posted some smart backend sectionals to compliment his smart overall speed figure and based on all the data from 15 days ago, he thoroughly deserves his place in today’s field. Drawn over on the far wing in stall one, he should, however, be able to track the likely pacesetters, Goldilocks (drawn 2) and Frankella (4) of hooked back inside those pair over on the far side and if so, expect his useful turn of foot to prove a key factor in the latter stages.
BATCIO (best price 12-1) looked like a horse right on top of his game when scoring at Wexford last time out and he deserves more than a second glance in this competitive handicap chase off bottom weight.
Not a prolific winner by any stretch of the imagination, he does, however, produce performances every now and then which leave you wondering how he’s only managed to score four times and that was very much the case at the Newtown Road venue 30 days ago. Seemingly fresh and well after a 59-day break, Ted Walsh’s gelding could be spotted travelling well from a good way out in what turned out to be a strongly run event and picking up the running still going easily, he duly strode readily clear to score with any amount in hand. Whether he can be totally relied upon to do the same again – particularly at a slightly higher level – is open to question, but either way, his morning price dictates he’s worth a round of drinks to find out.
Despite being given an educational round on his hurdling debut, WILD SHOT (best price 15-8) still managed to run to a very high standard in a hot novice event at the Fairyhouse festival back in April and following a cosy success on the Flat subsequently, John McConnell’s gelding looks poised to make a bigger impact in this weaker-looking affair.
A veteran of no less than 42 races on the all-weather at Dundalk, the son of So You Think was one of the more exposed members of the 21-strong field that assembled before the starter at the Co Meath venue 103 days ago, but there’s little doubt he proved to be the most eye-catching performer on the day. Held up towards the rear, the seven-year-old made relentless headway inside the final half a mile and by the time he’d hit the line, he was gaining on the likes of El Barra, Surprise Package and Buddy Rich – all high quality performers in their own right. Likely to be much sharper for that initial experience and taking into account his recent romp on the level, Wild Shot also represents a stable whose runners are in much better nick than they were several months ago and he can continue the good work for the Co Meath handler providing he’s ridden with a little more positivity this time around.
IMPERIUM BLUE (best price 3-1) was a shade unlucky to be outrun by a horse who raced on the favourable side of the track last time out at Haydock but it was still a performance to indicate Nigel Tinkler’s gelding is capable of more and he rates a solid choice to that theory correct under tonight’s slightly more suitable conditions.
A good winner of a well-run handicap at Redcar previously, the son of Lethal force faced a totally different test at the Merseyside venue a month later and although he came up slightly short in his bid to follow up, he could no more than win his race up the stands’ side rail. A strong traveller with a smart turn of foot, the in-form three-year-old grey looks poised to make the long trip down from his northern base worthwhile.