Andy Holding has four tips for today's racing including a NAP at Ascot.
ENEMY (NAP) (best price 4/1) may not have the sexy profile of some of his more well-known rivals, but he does arrive here in spankingly good form courtesy of his demolition job at Musselburgh last time out and, with the strong possibility of even more to come, Ian Williams’ inmate can make the transition in to a Group-race performer a seamless one.
Campaigned mainly over a mile for previous French connections, the son of Muhaarar was significantly upped in trip on his second start out in the desert during the winter and despite being extremely tardy out of the gates along with not receiving a clear run down the home straight, he managed to finish a creditable fourth behind one of the potential global stars in the staying division in the shape of Manobo.
Back on home soil for his latest assignment at the Scottish venue 11 days ago, the five-year-old gelding once again found himself at the back of the field following another slow beginning, but despite given his rivals a significant early advantage, he still came through in powerful fashion to score with plenty in hand. Additionally, he also clocked a pretty impressive speed figure in the process and with his hold-up style tailor made for how races often pan out on the round track at the Berkshire venue, it wouldn’t come as the biggest shock in the world if he were to double his tally at today’s course.
Given what occurred here yesterday, anything trained by Gordon Elliott’s clearly deserves more than a second glance and HUMBLE GLORY (best price 10/1) definite comes into the reckoning based on her run behind stable mate Party Central earlier in the season.
Clearly well suited by today’s track as form figures of 1232 testify, the form of her latest effort at the Co Kildare venue was advertise in no uncertain terms here yesterday and even though she has been a shade disappointing in two subsequent starts, there have been mitigating circumstances. 2m7f on bottomless winter ground at Limerick totally derailed her in a Grade 2 over the Christmas period and she ran as though badly in need of the outing after a 102-day break around track she would have found too sharp at Ballinrobe last time. Back over a more suitable expanse of real estate under her optimum ground conditions, the daughter of Fame And Glory looks destined to make some sort of impact off a favourable mark of 118.
Connections of FREEDOM TO DREAM (best price 5/2) have probably had this race on their minds ever since the son of Secret Singer landed a maiden hurdle over today’s course back in November and, having not only proven himself at Grade 1 level and at the Cheltenham Festival since, the lightly-raced gelding can go some way to stop the monopolies commission from stepping in where the Mullins/Elliott horses are concerned.
Runner-up to Eric Bloodaxe in a Grade 2 at Limerick at Christmas, Peter Fahey’s gelding went on to run with great credit in a better race at the Dublin Racing Festival next time out and that performance prompted connections to have a stab at the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival. Although a praiseworthy fourth, the son of Secret Singer’s performance can be upgraded on account of he was the only horse to race around the unfavourable inside of the track and still make an impact and this unexposed seven-year-old should go close to capturing this prize based on any of his four previous starts over hurdles.
Arguably one of the races of the entire meeting, with virtually all the best Irish staying novices on parade, and in a contest that has a distinctly wide-open feel to it, MEET AND GREET (best price 40/1) is fancied to punch above his weight.
Impressive when landing a maiden hurdle at Naas in a fast time figure back in February, Oliver McKiernan’s gelding was a warm order to ruffle the feathers of many highly regarded sorts back over the same C&D two weeks later and although he ran well enough to justify his position in the market, he left the impression that two miles, even around a stiff track, was an insufficient test. Whether an extra mile ends up being his optimum is obviously open to debate but at 50-1, he’s certainly worth a few quid to found out.