Our horse racing expert Andy Holding is back with five tips for today's action including a NAP at Doncaster.
BOOMBAWN (best price 9-2) had the misfortune to bump into two above-average types over today’s C&D last time out and while thoroughly excepting his return to the Berkshire venue will be anything but a stroll in the park up against the likes of Jonbon and Co, he should have garnered enough knowledge from that initial experience to be an even more potent threat this time around.
Runner-up to a nice mare of Nicky Henderson’s on his debut at Worcester for Tom Weston, the Dan Skelton operation soon switched his attentions to hurdles and on the evidence of what we saw of him 22 days ago, that decision looks like being well rewarded. Settled in the rear off a steady early pace, the son of Dylan Thomas wasn’t best positioned as the tempo cranked up several notches turning for home, but he impressed with the way he was able to keep tabs on the big two in the market and it was good to see him jump well at pace over the final three hurdles. Sure to improve on all levels following that baptism of fire, the scopey four-year-old would only need to improve just a fraction to be able to easily outrun his morning odds on his return visit.
FAUVETTE (best price 7-2) overcame several bumps in the road to score with quite a bit in hand at Chelmsford last time out and with the time figure of her success reading so well for a horse of her grade, she’s strongly fancied to take the next step of her progression in her stride.
Slowly away at the Essex track, Rae Guest’s filly found herself with ground to make up at the halfway stage, but not only did she erode the lost deficit, she ended up quickening right through the field to score going away. Impressive on the eye, her final three furlong split of 34.5 was also the best on the eight-race card – including the one posted by course specialist Trumble – and with a decent performance over today’s track already safely tucked away in her locker previously, the daughter of Dark Angel should have enough game to continue her fine record on the all-weather.
WHITE WALKER (NAP) (best price 15-8) produced a very good set of numbers for the grade at Catterick a week ago and with connections clearly keen to take advantage of his wellbeing, Gary Hanmer’s gelding is worth keeping on side.
A comfortable winner of a small-field handicap at Market Rasen in August, the six-year-old ran okay without winning on his next three starts, but he soon laid that ghost to rest with his performance at the Yorkshire venue. Always travelling well, the son of Dream Eater found plenty for pressure once off the bridle and his three-length winning margin only tells half the story about his superiority. On a card which saw the likes of useful juvenile Sonning score in tidy fashion and the highly-regarded Minella Plus easily land his novice hurdle, it was the six-year-old grey who shone on the numbers, clocking both the fastest overall time and final lap sectionals on the three hurdle races that afternoon. Based on those calculations, he’s clearly miles better than his current rating of 95 and being as he comes here unpenalised for last week’s romp, today’s contest represents a cracking opportunity for him to follow up.
The official ratings suggest MRS MILNER (best price 3-1) is likely to finish last of the sextet due to go to post, but don’t be fooled by that assumption, and Paul Nolan’s mare is strongly fancied to prove that viewpoint correct in this wide open-looking Grade 2 affair.
A hugely-impressive winner of the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival, it’s interesting to watch how that three-mile handicap developed alongside the Stayers Hurdle on the same day using the split-screen technique. Although the Grade 1 was marginally ahead thanks to the early pace set by the eventual winner, Flooring Porter, the backend of the handicap very much belonged to the daughter of Flemensfirth (51.1 from two out to the line compared to 55.8) and it’s that natural pace she has which may end up being the determining factor here this afternoon. Clearly a big-time operator on good ground, today’s conditions will suit her more than most and in a race where there doesn’t appear to be a whole pile of obvious signed-on early pace, hopefully her ability to quicken under the prevailing conditions will prove vital.
CERTAINLY RED (best price 9-1) showed his tenaciousness in spades at Chepstow last time out by out-battling the well-fancied Moon King in the latter stages of a keenly-contested handicap hurdle and, with the strong possibility Lydia Richards’ gelding is likely to improve from that outing following a 229-day break, he deserves a good deal more respect his position in the market affords him here.
Off the mark at the twelfth time of asking on his final outing last season at Wincanton, clocking a good speed figure into the bargain, the seven-year-old chestnut was understandably a little enthusiastic in the early stages of his return to the fray at the Welsh venue, but despite this exuberance, he still managed to find extra reserves when required. Having every right to shirk the issue up against a strong stayer 31 days ago, the son of Midnight Legend really rolled his sleeves up in the final half a mile and with the pair pulling miles clear of the rest after their ding-dong tussle, he came out of the argument with great credit. Leaving the impression he was just doing enough, there will hopefully be more to come, especially now his levels of confidence are at an all-time high, and with today’s big, galloping circuit likely to prove right up his street, this in-form stayer can complete the hat trick.