Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has three tips for today's racing, including a NAP at Wolverhampton.
JAKAMANI (best price 7-2) registered his best career effort following wind surgery at Stratford last time out and if the numbers from that race at the Midland venue are anything to go by, Mark Bradstock’s gelding is likely to feature heavily in this similar heat.
Down the field with not much to offer in several previous attempts in novice hurdles, the seven-year-old was operated on in order to correct an issue that had clearly been preventing him from finishing off his races and on the evidence of what we witnessed 26 days ago, the procedure seems to have been a success. Noted travelling well from a good way out, the son of Sulamani picked up the running still seemingly full of running rounding the home turn and it was only the powerful finish of Serjeant Painter than prevented him from opening his account. That said, the time figure was extremely good for the grade and with confidence to breath during his races likely to bring about more consistency from his game, expectations are high that he can repeat the levels of his latest effort and get the job done in a contest weakened by all the non-runners.
It’s a sure sign of the times that Kevin Prendergast didn’t have single runner at the Irish Champions Weekend, but as the Co Kildare handler has proven in recent weeks, he’s still more than capable of bagging the winners with the right ammunition and one of those recent scorers, SHAHAADA (best price 15-4), rates a strong choice to follow up her victory at Clonmel last time out.
Being a sharp track, it’s normally quite difficult to make ground up from the back of the field in the relatively short straight at the Powerstown Park venue, so to run down her two main market rivals having given them a five length head start and still win in the manner she did has to go down as a fair effort by the daughter of Awtaad on her first attempt over a mile. On top of that, the three-year-old filly clocked the fastest overall time to coincide with the best set of final two furlong splits on the seven-race card and with her assessment of 74 pre-race only slightly tinkering with by the handicapper in the post-match analysis, there’s every chance she will prove to be well treated on her first outing in this sphere.
ASTAROTH (NAP) (best price 13-8) comfortably brings the most solid bits of recent form to the table in this nursery and returning to the scene of one of his two victories, Jamie Osbourne’s colt rates a very strong choice to make it three.
Upped in trip when making his debut at the Dunstall Park venue a month ago, his victory over Rhinoplasty was not only visually impressive and good on the numbers, the form has worked out accordingly since. Racing over half a furlong further on his next assignment at Ffos Las, the son of Bated Breath proved equally effective on the grass by staying on well in the closing stages and with runner-up that day, Zain Nibras, going on to score in tidy fashion at Brighton yesterday, those form lines also get ticked. Although he failed in his bid to complete a hat trick at Kempton last time out, the overall time figure and subsequent success of the winner Mr Professor strongly suggest he ran just as well in defeat and considering how strong he was at the finish after getting outpaced two out, today’s extra yardage should bring about even further improvement from this likeable juvenile.