Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has five tips for today's racing, including two running at Newmarket, one at Pontefract, Listowel and Wolverhampton.
Andre Fabre’s record when sending a two-year-old over to these shores always meant Trident was likely to be a popular choice with the layers and punters alike but at the same time, he looks to be a painfully short price up against a home team chocked full of talent and of them, RIBHI (best price 6-1) and CRESTA (best price 7-1) make the most appeal at the morning odds.
The former ran out a hugely impressive winner of a Salisbury maiden in a fast time and, as a result, he was strongly fancied to make the transition into pattern company a seamless one at Doncaster next time. Unfortunately for his supporters, Marcus Tregoning’s colt never got a chance to show his true worth as he was badly checked just as he was beginning to throw down what appeared a potent challenge. In the end, the son of Dark Angel had to settle for a never-nearer fifth in that listed contest on Town Moor, but it was at least encouraging to see him hit the line quite strong once out in the clear. Seemingly well suited by a stiff seven-furlongs on debut, today’s more demanding venue that last time should help this scopey grey get up a better head of steam and his talent should afford him more respect than the position in the market allows.
Having already beaten Modern Games fair and square on debut, it seems inexplicable why the latter has been chalked up almost twice the price of his old rival but with recency bias being the main culprit thanks to Charlie Appleby’s subsequent victory at Doncaster, that modern day tendency can be quashed by backing Cresta to uphold the form around the generous-looking 7-1 mark. Slowly away and bumped as the gates flew back at the Midland track, Martyn Meade’s ran green towards the rear in the early part of the race, but once working out what was required, he came through very strongly in the latter stages to score going away. Hitting the line really hard, not only was his overall speed figure one of the best on the seven-race card, his final three-furlong split of 34.7 was significantly faster than all of the older horse races on the straight track, lending to the theory that the son of New Bay is well above average. Having handled good-to-soft ground well on debut, today’s easy surface should prove ideal and with expected improvement to come in all departments, this potentially useful colt has all the attributes to prove up to scratch at this level.
INDIAN SOUNDS (best price 3-1) hasn’t managed to get his head in front so far this campaign, but there is strong recent evidence to suggest he may be able to turn around his fortunes.
A three-time winner last season, life has clearly been tougher for Paul Midgley’s gelding this time around but in chasing home the rapid King Of Stars over today’s C&D last time out, he ended up posting one of the fastest speed figures on his cv. Looking at his overall record, it’s noticeable that most of his best performances have taken place over a stiff five-furlongs and with fast ground also essential to his chances, there’s nothing off-putting about today’s task.
PHOENIX COWBOY (best price 11-2) got no run whatsoever when a well-fancied second favourite in an ultra-competitive premier handicap at Leopardstown on Irish Champions weekend last time out and, as a result, he morning odds seem more than fair taking into account what happened to him 12 days ago and all his previous form previously.
A comfortable winner of a competitive handicap at Gowran the time before, Ger Lyons’ gelding went into his latest encounter with plenty of confidence attached to his chance, but his challenge ended in disaster as got stopped badly in his run when attempting to go for an audacious gap up the inside rail. Although impossible to say for sure where he would have finished at Dublin venue, it’s probably safe to assume he would have ended up being one of the main players given how well he was going at the time and even though today’s test is by no means a pushover, it looks a far easier one on paper than he faced 12 days ago.
GUISEPPE CASSIOLI (best price 7-2) ran out a comfortable scorer in a fast time when he last raced over today’s C&D a month ago and following two solid placed efforts in defeat at Kempton since, the four-year-old looks poised to regain the winning theme.
Appreciating the sound gallop set by Soaring Star that day, Willie Muir & Chris Grassick’s gelding came through strongly in the closing stages to be full value for his one-and-a-half-length victory and, as a result, he was strongly fancied to repeat the dose at the Sunbury venue next time. Unfortunately, the race didn’t quite develop in the way he required to be at his best, but he did bounce back to something close to peak levels back over the same C&D last time when finishing a close-up third in the final of the London Mile series, once again clocking a decent number. Looking at the pace map of tonight’s contest, there are several - Asdaa being the most likely candidate - to take the field along at a decent clip and if so, the son of Bated Breath should have the perfect set-up on a surface that clearly plays into his strengths.