Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has seven tips for today's action, including a NAP at Ascot.
ART POWER (NAP) (best price 9-2) arrives here right at the peak of his powers based on his recent success at the Curragh, so despite the draw being a large part of the conversation, Tim Easterby’s four-year-old is still seen as the one to beat.
Winless despite running extremely well in all the best sprint races this season, the son of Dark Angel looked to have been presented with a golden opportunity to finally gain some reward for his endeavours 21 days ago and even though he was fully entitled to take care of his eight rivals at the Co Kildare venue, the manner of his victory left an ever-lasting impression. Rather than been blasted from the front, this time he was given ample opportunity to slide in beyond the pace set by Stormy Girl and then once the handbrake was let off approaching the final furlong, you could almost hear the roar from his engines as he quickened right away from his toiling opponents. Clocking a massive speed figure, he clearly benefitted greatly from being ridden in affair more conservative fashion and it’s just hoped that today’s pilot – not necessarily renowned for his subtlety at this track – uses the example of the Curragh as a solid reference point. With strong front runners, such as Highfield Princess and Happy Power, drawn right next to him in stall 18 and 19 respectively, it would be annoying to say the least SDS gets drawn into an unnecessary early joust for the lead, but hopefully that won’t materialise and he’s given the sort of ride to allow him the opportunity to explode off the bridle inside the final furlong.
Judged on the official ratings and her early season form, this should, in theory, be a bit of a cakewalk for Snowfall, but that may not turn out to be the case up against two coming here a little fresher in the shape of INVITE (best price 15-2) and Albaflora and of the pair, the former makes the most appeal as a solid each-way alternative.
Progressive in the early part of the campaign for Marco Botti, the daughter of The Gurkha was switched to new connections after failing in her bid to land a Group 2 at San Siro in July and on the evidence of what we saw of her at Chester two months later, the move has worked the trick. Up against the boys in a decent-looking listed race on the Roodee, the lightly-raced three-year-old was held up in the rear behind a strong gallop and when the pace collapsed late on and stamina became the key component, her qualities in that department shone through. Clocking a big speed figure, she totally deserves a crack at something more substantial and having been saved specifically for this contest subsequently, Invite arrives her fresh and well with the wind in her sails and the run style that should be well suited to the demands of today’s track.
Connections of THE REVENANT (best price 10-1) would have no doubt wanted the ground to be a little softer than what’s anticipated come post time, but either way, his overall profile and love for today’s straight track mile still makes him a viable each-way proposition against the ‘big two’.
Runner-up in this race two years ago, the son of Dubawi had the same contest as his ultimate target the following season and having been given an extremely light campaign in order to peak again in the Autumn, he duly went one place better. In getting the better of a stellar field, including one of today’s main rivals Palace Pier, the six-year-old has no inferiority complex as far as world class opponents are concerned and having seemingly timed his preparation to a nicety courtesy of another solid performance in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp last time out (same race he used as a prep the year before), the chestnut gelding should give another solid account.
There are quite a few in today’s line-up who already have valuable experience of racing at this level, but at the same time, they don’t look any world beaters, so it could just be that a couple from the once-raced category have sufficient improvement in them to cause a shock - namely NEW ENERGY (best price 11-2) and BOUNDLESS OCEAN (best price 16-1).
The former produced a striking performance when landing a useful-looking maiden at the Curragh on debut and connections are fully justified in thinking big for this colt based on the speed figure he posted. Knowing his job better than most thanks to a previous barrier trial success, Sheila Lavery’s chestnut was always to the fore at the Co Kildare venue and when asked to go and seal the deal inside the final two furlongs, he lengthened nicely all the way to the line. Although it’s hard to know what he beat, he couldn’t have done it any easier and with the distinct likelihood of even more to come and a forward-going run style that will be well-suited by today’s course, the son of New Bay is well worth chancing.
The latter looks a typical Jim Bolger project, thrown into the lion’s den after only racing just two days ago at the Curragh, but based on the evidence of his eye-catching effort at the Co Kildare venue, the Master of Coolcullen’s seemingly crackpot idea at first glance might not be so outrageous than it appears at first glance.
Clearly well regarded at home, hence his position in the pre-race market, the son of Teofilo travelled extremely powerfully throughout a strongly run contest and it was only lack of fitness/match practice that prevented him from making a winning start. Just cut down late on by a horse who had nothing to do with the early gallop, this scopey colt left everyone present that he was by far and away the one to take out of the race and with the time figure at the Co Kildare venue strongly pointing towards his effort being not a million miles away from pattern level, he may have the skills to skill set to spring a surprise.
Come 4.30, punters should have a fair idea of how the draw has panned out during the course of the day, and providing stalls 3 and 7 respectively are not seen as any negative for NUGGET (best price 9-1) and SIR BUSKER (best price 12-1), both looks to hold obvious claims.
The former has developed into a quality performer throughout the season and following a smooth victory in the Spring Cup, he was a warm order to follow up in the Thirsk Hunt Cup a month later. Unfortunately for him and his legion of supporters, Richard Hannon’s colt endured a desperate passage in a bit of a rough race and he had to settle for a minor role behind the positively ridden
winner, Sorting. Off the track for 147 days in the interim after been struck into at the Yorkshire venue, the four-year-old returned to action at Haydock last time out and once again he showed his class. Although he only landed a decent handicap by a neck, he left the impression he was just doing the bear minimum but, as a result, he’s only been bumped up just 3lb in the ratings. Sure to be racing in all the top mile Group races next season, the son of Siyouni will hopefully sign off the campaign kissing goodbye his current handicap mark.
The latter has developed into a proper straight track specialist here over the last season or so and another positive show looks on the cards despite him carrying top weight. Fourth in the big Group 1 over the C&D at this meeting last season, William Knight’s gelding has by and large performed to a high standard this term and his effort when third in the Queen Anne at the Royal meeting once again highlighted his love for this stiff mile. Rather leniently dropped from 114 to 111 even though he did little wrong at Sandown when last seen, the son of Sir Prancealot looks a likely candidate to add to his impressive C&D stats of 1433.