Andy Holding is back with five tips for today's racing.
SISTER LOLA (best price 16-1) has been an absolute dreamboat for connections after being picked up for relatively small beer in a claimer at Dundalk back in September and based on her latest effort at Naas 15 days ago, James McAuley’s mare still has plenty more to give.
A three-time winner on the all-weather during the winter, the daughter of Slade Power seemed to really thrive on her racing despite conventional wisdom suggesting her tough schedule would take affect at some stage, and on the evidence of her latest performance at the Co Kildare venue, her appetite for the game appears greater than ever. Held up towards the rear, as is often the case, the five-year-old still had plenty to do at the halfway stage, but rattling home up the stand side rail, she finished off her race best of all to finish a never-nearer third in a competitive affair. Clearly suited by a stiff six-furlongs with a bit of ease underfoot, she has similar conditions in place to another big race.
TOPANTICIPATION (best price 14-1), in an ideal world, could have done with a better draw, but that slight negative aside, her credentials in this staying handicap far outweigh her early morning odds and she’s worth playing accordingly.
Despite a series of fine placed efforts, she was beginning to cut a rather frustrating character, so it was good to see her finally shed her maiden tag on her seasonal bow at Leicester recently. Dispelling any notions of her resolution at the Midland venue, she can now build on that solid performance and having run well on both her two previous starts at today’s venue, the daughter of Mount Nelson can reward each-way support.
A cracking rendition of the Irish 1000 Guineas, arguably better than the English version, and PANAMA RED (NAP) (best price 16-1) rates more than a dangerous floater based on several performances both old and new.
A comfortable winner over one of today’s main players, History, at Tipperary last season, Ger Lyons’ filly rounded off the campaign with a victory at listed level at Leopardstown, allowing her set of connections to dream big as a three-year-old. Although she hasn’t quite lived up to expectations so far in two starts this term, there have been mitigating circumstances regarding her finishing positions and there’s little doubt the daughter of Showcasing is better than what the bare results have suggested. Undone by a relatively slow pace on her seasonal bow at Leopardstown, she then met all sorts of trouble in running when she returned to the Dublin venue a month later and it’s that display which gives her more than a fighting chance of causing an upset. The way she was travelling at the time strongly indicated she would have had a huge say in the final argument with a clear run and with today’s stiff mile – and a strongly run one at that - likely to be bang up her alley, she makes a huge amount of appeal at her morning odds from what should turn out to be a favourable draw
over on the far side fence. Or, looking at it another way, if History is 8-1 and Agartha 12-1, there’s no way she should be a considerably bigger price based on what occurred 14 days ago.
DARK VEGA (best price 4-1) may have disappointed many on her seasonal bow over today’s course 20 days ago but, as she was always likely to struggle over what turned out to be an inadequate test at the trip, she’s afforded another chance to prove she remains a well-handicapped filly over a furlong further.
An impressive winner on her debut at the Co Kildare venue, the subsequent form of those beaten that day suggested it wasn’t a bad maiden the daughter of Lope De Vega claimed, and when you add into the equation the speed figure she posted, big things were expected of her this term. Not beaten too far despite plenty going wrong on her first outing for 200 days, the way she hit the line once out in the clear and organised hinted she would be a totally different proposition next time and with today’s field well within her compass based on both her two runs to date, the lightly-raced three-year-old cam begin her climb up the ladder.
LION TOWER (best price 9-1) ran close to a career high with another solid effort over today’s C&D at the Dante meeting and providing he’s in the same sort of mood on his return visit, there’s no obvious reason why Grant Tuer’s gelding won’t be in the mix again.
Having shaped well on his two previous visits on the Knavesmire, it was no surprise the son of Exceed And Excel was nicely backed here 10 days ago and for nine tenths of the mile journey, he looked like he was going to reward his supporters with maximum returns. Unfortunately, he was just run out of the argument close home, but with the speed figure for the race in question exceptionally good – and he was one of the main contributors – the five-year-old has plenty in his favour in his bid to go two places better.