After two winners from four tips yesterday, Andy Holding is back with seven tips for today's racing.
LEZOO (best price 7-2) needed every inch of the five-furlong trip to gain the day on her debut at Bath and with today’s extra furlong likely to play into her hands in every way, Ralph Beckett’s filly is fancied to take the step up in class in her stride.
A 110,000euro purchase at the Breeze-up sales, the daughter of Zoustar was surprisingly easy to back at the Wiltshire venue (sent off 15-2), but after a looking in a bit of trouble with two furlongs to run, she came through strongly at the end to prove her uneasiness on the market all wrong. Looking closely at the numbers from that well-run affair two weeks ago, both the overall time and backend sectionals were very healthy for a race of its kind and with a daisy-cutting action that lends itself to fast ground, conditions at the July course should allow this promising filly to flourish.
ART DU VAL (best price 10-1) has for most of his life raced predominantly over a mile or beyond, but he shaped at York last time out as though he might be worth a drop back in trip and with connections seemingly thinking along the same lines, he’s worth a small roll of the dice at the morning odds.
Better known for his exploits in the desert than what he’s achieved on these shores, Charlie Appleby’s gelding, however, did produce something close to his best on the Knavesmire 15 days ago and it’s that piece of form which deserves close scrutiny. Hot on the heels of a fast pace set by Marie’s Diamond in the early strides, the six-year-old picked up the running travelling well just over two out, but no sooner had he assumed command when along came stable mate Valiant Prince to mow him down inside the final furlong. As anticipated given the strong gallop set, the son of No Nay Never still managed to post a big number despite being beaten four lengths and with him likely to be all the better for that initial out after a 119-day break, this former Group 1-placed performer rates one of the most interesting runners of the party.
RUMBLES OF THUNDER (best price 9-4) produced a silky-smooth performance when winning at Gowran last time out and hailing from a yard that has one of the best strike rates either side of the Irish Sea (37%), Paddy Twomey’s filly looks set to keep up the good work.
Shaping as though very much need of the outing on her first start for new connections, it was a performance that fell into the ‘part of the process’ category, and true enough, she duly obliged at the next time of asking a month later. As both performances came with a bit of ease underfoot, the daughter of Night Of Thunder may need a little help from the skies to be at her best, but with the forecast suggested there is more likely to be the odd shower knocking around the Co Kildare venue, every drop with further enhance her credentials.
LUCANDER (best price 10-3) has yet to run over 1m4f but, as the strongest part of his game over shorter has been the backend of his races, he’s well worth a punt to see whether he can improve for today’s extra furlong and a half.
Only beaten sixth lengths in last season’s Cambridgeshire, the five-year-old rounded off the campaign with two solid runner-up spots in similarly competitive handicaps, it was just a shame he couldn’t reward his connections with what would have been a deserved success. Badly hampered on his return to action at Newmarket, that all-important run set him up nicely for a crack at a good pot at the Berkshire venue next time and in what turned out to be a keenly-contested and strongly-run affair, the son of Footstepsinthesand battled on bravely to claim the prize close home. Obviously, today’s contest will be no pushover up against many in-form rivals, but he does bring an unbeaten course record to the table (2-2) and with both trainer and jockey in good form, Lucander can preserve those impressive stats if his numbers from 26 days ago are an accurate guide.
After last week, this seven-furlong handicap almost has a ‘Royal Ascot’ feel to it, but having proven themselves adept to the hurly-burly nature of these events at the Co Kildare venue, both FASTNET CROWN (best price 15-2) and PIERRE LAPIN (best price 11-2) can acquit themselves with credit.
The former hasn’t missed too many gigs at today’s track in recent times and some of his best efforts – Including third in the Irish Cambridgeshire – would give him a big chance on form. An eye-catcher on his most recent outing here over the C&D back in May, Michael O’Callaghan’s gelding went on to run better than his finishing position suggested at Royal Ascot last week, doing best of those who raced up with the strong pace. Whether first-time cheekpieces have any effect on his performance levels remain to be seen, but either way, the son of Hallowed Crown comes out well on all the data available for today’s assignment.
The latter has to go down as a bit of a disappointment since coming to these shores from Roger Varian, but he’s with the type of trainer that is bound to unlock the key to him sooner rather than later. Indeed, based on his latest performance over today’s C&D, the wait might come quicker than anticipated and a repeat of that strongly-finishing effort behind Celtic Crown (fifth won here last night) is likely to see him in the mix.