Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's action, including a NAP at Newbury.
14:05 Market Rasen
Connections of CAMPROND (best price 4-1) have clearly had their sights set on this prize for some time, hence the need for him to gain some valuable experience around this C&D last time out, and with the ground coming right just at the right time for Philip Hobbs’ gelding, he looks to have bright prospects of finally landing one of these big handicaps.
A creditable runner-up in the big boys’ race on Grand National day at Aintree back in April, the son of Lope De Vega was well-backed to go one place better in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock a month later and although he performed with a fair degree of credit, a poor round of jumping and soft ground ultimately sealed his fate. Still novicey at times when landing short odds at the Lincolnshire venue last time, he will clearly need to clean his act up in that department in this much more competitive contest but even allowing for the odd mistake on the way round, he still should prove good enough to make his presence felt.
KINGS LYNN (best price 11-4) excelled himself twice at the Royal meeting last month despite received no luck in running and today’s slightly easier contest represents a decent opportunity for him to gain some sort of compensation.
Pitched into the white-hot heat of the Group 1 Kings Stand Stakes at the Berkshire venue last month, Andrew Balding’s gelding got stopped in his run when coming with what appeared a potent challenge inside the final furlong and, as a result, he was sent off a clear favourite to make amends in the Wokingham Handicap four days later. Unfortunately for his legion of supporters, the son of Cable Bay suffered a similar fate in the big-field, six-furlong affair and he had to settle for a minor role, once again leaving connections to rue their luck. Although clearly just as useful over the minimum trip, six-furlongs has always appeared to be his optimum, and with today’s smaller field likely to be more helpful with a view to him obtaining a clearer passage, the in-form four-year-old can gain his just deserts.
GOLDEN PASS (best price 11-4) was agonisingly touched off in a similar race at Pontefract last time out but at least her effort in defeat proved that she’s a bona fide pattern race performer and all roads lead to her gaining compensation back on home soil.
Winner of three of her six starts, Hugo Palmer’s filly has also gradually worked her way up the ranks and she may have well added to her tally if she hadn’t been forced to race wide at a crucial stage at the Yorkshire venue, in stark contrast to the winner, Katara, who got a charmed run up the inside rail. Clearly a four-year-old right on top of her game at present, 1m4f on fast ground seems to be her optimum based on recent evidence and having run well on her two previous appearances at HQ (both on the Rowley Mile), the daughter of Golden Horn looks sure to go well in her pursuit of listed glory.
Other than one poor run on account of soft ground in the National Stakes at Sandown, CHIPOTLE (NAP) (best price 2-1) has pretty much proved he’s the best juvenile over five furlongs so far this season and he’s strongly fancied to press home that viewpoint in this valuable prize.
An impressive winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster on his debut when he had today’s main rival, Vintage Clarets, back in fourth, Eve Johnson Houghton’s colt gave a precursor to future events when landing a conditions events on his first visit to the Berkshire venue a month later. Disappointing next time, as a result, the son of Havana Gold arrived at the Royal meeting rather under the radar and as it turned out, that stance proved to be the wrong approach as he ran out arguably one of the best two-year-old winners of the entire week – certainly as far as the numbers are concerned. Despite stumbling coming out of the stalls and losing valuable ground, he had the quality not only to make up the lost leeway, but show a turn of foot that allowed him to outrun his 25 opponents inside the final two furlongs. Indeed, his closing three furlong split of 34.2 was the fastest by any horse from that point during the first two days of the meeting (Oxted 34.5 in landing the Kings Stand Stakes), so it’s easy to see why connections are already toying with the idea of running him in the Nunthorpe against the older horses later in the campaign. Obviously, he has to get today out of the way first, but providing he ends up being on the right side of the draw (all the fancied horse are drawn towards the nearside and high numbers have dominated this race in the last decade), he has all the necessary ingredients to capture this valuable prize on ground that will suit.
BROKEN SPEAR (best price 9-1) could never get involved in a hot handicap at York last week after a tardy start but he did more than enough in the final quarter mile to suggest he’s more than worth another chance, particularly at track where he’s gone particularly well in the past.
Slow away and well behind at the halfway stage on the Knavesmire, Tony Coyle’s gelding, did, however, make up some eye-catching ground in the latter stages to finish a never-nearer eighth and considering he was closing in on some pretty smart fractions a week ago, his effort deserves extra merit. Up against an improving three-year-old today in the shape of Tadreeb, the five-year-old clearly faces no easy task, but it’s worth noting that he has a record over today’s track of 2232, so if there is to be a mini-shock, he’s one more likely than most to provide it.