Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's racing, including a NAP at Newton Abbot.
DAZZLING DARREN (best price 2-1) clocked a big speed figure for the grade at Down Royal last time out and with the second and fifth both going on to advertise the worth of the form since, Gavin Cromwell’s gelding rates a strong choice to follow suit.
A cosy winner of a competitive contest on the Flat at the Galway Festival previously, the four-year-old was well supported to repeat the dose switching back to hurdles at the Co Down venue a month later and after travelling strongly throughout, he duly obliged. The feature of that race 21 days ago was the unrelenting pace set by regular trail blazer, Kitty Galore, and in the final count, it was only the son of Dragon Pulse who had the requisite skills to lay up with the speed and the stamina to see the trip out strongly all the way to the line. On the face of it, a further rise of 7lb in the ratings could have been worse – especially taking in consideration how the race is beginning to work out – and providing the ground stays roughly the same as forecast (there are one or two showers predicted in the area), the hat trick looks a realistic possibility over a trip that should suit.
If you were just concentrating on pure ratings in this listed juvenile contest, both MITBAAHY (best price 10-1) and PEGGY SIOUX (best price 13-2) would appear to have quite a bit to find, but on the other hand, if you were to pay closer inspection to their respective speed figures, their chances become more apparent and at the prices, they are worth playing against the field.
Although several in today’s field have contested Group races, it can be argued that Roger Varian’s colt has the best form coming into this race courtesy of his fine third in the Roses Stakes at York last time out. In what turned out to be an extremely strongly run affair, the son of Profitable impressed with the way he travelled through the contest and it was only in the final bounds he was outrun by the fast-finishing pair Attagirl and Caturra. It was good to see, therefore, the form upheld by the runner-up at Doncaster last week and providing the ground today stays on the fast side of good (there are forecast showers in the area), this extremely pacey juvenile is fancied to more than hold his own.
The latter made an impressive start to her career with a smooth victory at Hamilton and although today’s contest clearly represents a much stiffer examination, the time figure she produced suggests she shouldn’t lack for speed. A little green early on at the Scottish venue, she soon worked out what was required and by the time the race had took shape towards the business end, she settled matters with a decent burst of speed. Running a fast overall figure, Kevin Ryan’s filly also posted better closing sectionals than the two older horse sprints on the card and with the distinct prospect of even more to come with that initial experience under her belt, this big, powerfully-built youngster rates one of the most intriguing runners in the line-up.
In contrast to the favourite here, King Of Conquest, BOLTHOLE (best price 9-2) landed a very strongly run race on his debut at Windsor and with expected improvement to come, Michael Bell’s colt has the capabilities to easily outrun his morning odds.
Heading to the Berkshire venue with a tall reputation, the son of Free Eagle travelled so well from an early stage he always looked likely to take a hand in the finish and he didn’t disappoint at the business, staying on strongly in the final two furlongs to pull nicely clear of his field. Clocking a fair speed figure into the bargain, the substantially-built youngster beat several rivals who have all gone on to boost the form subsequently and even though he already shapes like a middle-distance type for next season, he clearly has enough boot to hold his own over a mile in the short term.
15:38 Newton Abbot
SERGEANT (NAP) (best price 13-8) won in the style of a very well handicapped horse over today’s C&D last time out and with the assessor only seeing fit to make a tiny little scratch on the surface compared to his true ability, Milton Harris’ gelding is likely to make a complete mockery of his revised mark of just 84.
Unable to feature in his three races as a juvenile hurdler last season due to soft winter ground, the four-year-old was significantly well supported in the build up to his latest encounter here 17 days ago and having travelled supremely well throughout, he went on to reward those who clearly knew a thing or two about his current wellbeing and ability to handle better ground. Not only was the overall time figure extremely good for the grade, his final circuit time was a full second quicker than the 0-134 handicap won by State Crown over the same trip an hour earlier and with the seventh horse home going on to endorse the credentials of the race in question two days ago, the son of Nutan rates a confident vote to follow suit under similar conditions.