Andy Holding is back with six tips for today's action.
HIERARCHY (best price 9-2) made a more than satisfactory return to action in a hot little contest at Ascot last time out and having already proven himself over today’s C&D in the Mill Reef Stakes as juvenile, Hugo Palmer’s colt looks set to give another solid account.
A winner of his first two starts last season, the son of Mehmas was quite rightly stepped up in class thereafter and both his two performances at pattern level towards the backend of the campaign confirmed he belonged at the very highest level. A trip to Breeders Cup also resulted in a very smart effort by this likeable type and following a sound display on his first start for 173 days, it would come as no surprise if connections have something like the Commonwealth Cup in mind back at the Berkshire venue. Prior to that likely engagement, the small matter of today’s prize beckons and under ideal conditions, he rates a strong each-way choice.
Only time will tell, but probably not the strongest renewal of this early-season three-year-old middle-distance handicap and it’s a race both RED VINEYARD (best price 11-2) and MARSOUL (best price 20-1) should be capable of making some sort of impact given their form and profiles.
The former scored in tidy fashion on his debut as a juvenile last season and that led to connections pitching him into the choppy waters of Group 3 company on his next outing. Unfortunately, the ground went against him on the day and he ended up running way below expectations, but it was good to see him back to something like his best on his first start for 181 days. In what turned out to be a strongly-run race at Sandown, the son of Slade Power impressed with the way he went through the contest and then when asked to go and put his stamp on the race late on, he answered every call to the line. Clocking a smart time figure, the lightly-raced three-year-old intimated a bright future lies ahead and with the third home, Bolthole, going on to advertise the form subsequently, even a 5lb rise may not be enough to prevent him from scoring again.
The latter wouldn’t appear to have as obvious a chance as the main selection, but that doesn’t mean to say he’s not without a hope. After showing nothing in his first two starts, Richard Hannon’s looked a totally different commodity at Nottingham last time out and a repeat of a similar level of form should see him easily outrun his odds. The way he out-battled the highly-regarded New Dimension has to go down as a pretty big scalp, and with his numbers at the Midland venue also stacking up quite nicely, an opening mark of 84 looks more than workable. Putting it another way, if New Dimension were in today’s line-up, he would be vying for favouritism.
CURRAHEEN PRINCESS (best price 8-1) failed to trouble the judge on her seasonal bow at Naas last week, but that doesn’t mean to say she shaped without promise, and on balance, she’s probably worth another chance to see whether she can make a bit more of an impact in this similar race.
A three-time winner for Des Donavan last season, there was always the worry that she might not be capable of hitting those heights this term, but on the evidence of what we saw of her seven days ago, more success isn’t out of the question. The way she came home after not getting the clearest of runs at the Co Kildare venue suggested she may have finished in the frame with a better rub of the green and she’s worth a roll of the dice to back up that view from a potentially favourable draw (low numbers usually best here on good ground).
PARIS LIGHTS (best price 11-2) has missed one or two recent engagements due to unsuitable ground but, as today’s conditions should be ideal for the son of Siyouni, there’s more than a fair chance he will be capable of running close to maximum capacity.
A big eye-catcher on his debut as a two-year-old at The Curragh, Jessica Harrington’s colt went on to back up the initial impression he created back at the same venue next time, this time finishing off his race well from a bad draw. Well backed to make a successful start to the new campaign, he went and totally blew the start, but to his great credit, he did manage to pick up the pieces late on to finish a never-nearer fifth, strongly suggesting he would have been a major player with a cleaner break. A strong stayer in the making, distances beyond 1m4f will suit in time, but for now, he should be fine over today’s trip and he can reward solid each-way support.
MISTRIX (best price 6-1) went well for a long way until lack of fitness told in the closing stages of a hot contest for the grade at Leicester last time out and with that outing likely to have done George Scott’s filly the world of good, she’s fancied to build on that promising effort in the first-time hood.
Winner of a useful novice event at York last season, the daughter of Vadamos began this term on what appeared a reasonable handicap mark of 77 and on the evidence of her opening gambit at the Midland venue, the assessor might regret dropping her and allowing her to run in 0-75 races. Kicking for home in what appeared a well-contested event 21 days ago, the lightly-raced three-year-old looked to have her rivals on the rack at the furlong pole, but ultimately she drifted right and didn’t quite see it out all the way to the line and she ended up finishing just outside the frame. However, the time-figure and backend sectionals strongly suggested the race was a very good one of its kind and with the form of those who took part beginning to take shape since, Mistrix looks booked to go well at a track that served her well on her debut last summer.