Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has three tips for today's action, with one running at Redcar, Haydock & Dundalk.
DREAM A LITTLE (best price 9-4) proved no match for two useful sorts at Kempton a month ago, but she finished her race off with enough purpose to make her of interest in a weaker-looking race on paper.
Promising despite being never dangerous on her debut at Salisbury last season, Ed Walker’s filly was off nearly a year before making her belated reappearance at the Sunbury venue and after dwelling in the stalls and leaving herself with a bit to find in the straight, she came home to good effect behind a horse who is held in some regard and is now rated 91. Clocking a healthy 34.8 for the last three furlongs, connections of the lightly-raced filly must have been highly delighted with her performance and with the distinct possibility of a decent amount of improvement to come, today’s flat track over six-furlongs should see her go close to adding to her trainer’s fine record at the Yorkshire venue.
WHITEHAVEN (best price 13-8) hasn’t managed to add to his three victories last season in four starts to date this term, but Hughie Morrison’s gelding has been knocking at the door and following an agonising defeat in the final strides at Salisbury last time out, compensation awaits for him over a trip that should suit.
A real mud lark towards the backend of last season, it’s no coincidence his two best efforts during this current campaign have come on a similar surface and even though he suffered at the hands of a fast-finisher a month ago, the son of Le Havre hardly did anything wrong. On the sharp end throughout, the four-year-old finally saw off his chief rival for the lead inside the final two furlongs but as it panned out, the effort to do so ended up being his undoing and he was picked off late on. Looking at today’s opposition, there’s a good chance he will gain an uncontested lead from the start and if so, Whitehaven will prove a tough nut to crack in the hands of champion elect, Oisin Murphy.
ZOZIMUS (best price 11-4) arrives here in top form having finished a creditable fourth in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket, and returning to a track where he’s enjoyed a fair bit of success in the past, Donnacha O’Brien’s inmate can finally gain his just rewards for his all of his endeavours.
A consistent if sometimes frustrating character as a juvenile, the son of Footstepsinthesand took eight starts until finally breaking his duck over today’s course back in November and, as he seemed to respond really well to the first-time blinkers on that occasion, it’s easy to see why connections have looked to use the headgear again this term. Other than a couple of below-par efforts at the Curragh, a track that doesn’t appear to suit him for one reason or another, the three-year-old has gone well in each on his other three outings on turf and there’s no denying his latest display was by far and away the best. Racing on the smaller group who congregated on the far side of the course, he was held up towards the rear in the early stages, but coming storming through with a powerful surge in the final three furlongs, he ended up pulling well clear of his ten opponents but ultimately, only fourth overall. Time figure-wise, the race at HQ was about as good as it gets in terms of top-class handicaps and with the winner, Bedouin’s Story, arguably slightly unlucky not to land the Group 3 Darley Stakes back at the same track last week, it just puts into perspective what Zozimus was up against 20 days ago. On the evidence of that performance and several others in the past, tonight’s trip of the extended 1m2f should prove ideal and having rather surprisingly coming out of his latest exploits with his previous mark of 94 still intact, he’s fancied to take advantage of that leniency and get back to winning ways on a surface that clearly suits.