Andy Holding is back with six tips for today's action.
CURRENT OPTION (best price 9/2) is one of those twilight horses who is quite difficult to place but, in a race he won two years ago, he looks to have been found a decent opportunity to duplicate the same level of form.
Forsaking his crown last season in a bid to capture an even bigger pot in a Group 1 in France on Arc day, Ado McGuinness’ gelding didn’t quite meet the requirements of Space Blues & Co on that occasion, but since returning to these shores, he’s more than held his own in top class handicaps at pattern races alike. Winner of the Ahonoora Handicap at the Galway Festival, the son of Camelot put up a brave display under top weight in an even tougher race on paper at Leopardstown over Irish Champions weekend 22 days ago and with the form advertised by the winner, I’m A Gambler at Redcar yesterday, it was clearly a fine effort from a horse who had to overcome a particularly tricky draw. Operating at a decent level of late, a handler of soft ground and the only C&D winner in the field, the six-year-old looks destined to be there or thereabouts once more.
A good gathering of some of the best novices who have raced mostly through the summer months and of them, HUBRISKO (best price 4/1) makes the most appeal at the morning odds.
Shaping as though badly in need of the run on his first start for 201 days at the Galway Festival, Willie Mullins’ gelding returned to Ballybrit two months later a warm order to go one place better and having picked up the running going well before two out, he strode well clear for an easy success. Clocking a very good time figure for a maiden hurdle. It’s been good to see the form working out as well as expected with the runner-up and fourth winning since and with today’s conditions set to stay dry over in Ireland today, the son of Doctor Dino is expected to put up a bold show despite him being perceived as the stable’s second string.
JOHN CANNON (best price 8/1) finally gained his due rewards for a series of near misses in some useful novice events at Listowel last time out and, with that new-found confidence likely to see his raise his game to an even higher level, today’s assignment off his current mark looks well within his capabilities.
A promising fourth to the useful Hubrisko in a strongly-run affair at Galway on his first run for 131 days, Joseph Murphy’s gelding was extremely well-backed to take advantage of what appeared a golden opportunity on paper at the Harvest Festival several weeks ago and, having travelled well throughout, he ultimately got the job done with the minimum of fuss. Nothing special on the clock that day, he has, however, posted some decent numbers along the way in defeat and with his ability to handle soft ground and today’s track a good combination to have as far as this race is concerned, the son of High Chaparral has a degree of generosity attached to his morning odds.
History dictates that a draw as low as possible over the straight five-furlong track here is extremely beneficial, so with that in mind, COEUR DE PIERRE (best price 8/1) and MO CELITA (best price 16/1) are taken against the field.
The former has yet to run in this contest despite being one of the best French sprinters for the last two seasons or so and he confirmed that view with an eye-catching effort over today’s C&D last time out. In what is effectively the nearest thing he will face prior to tackling Group 1 company, the son of Zanzibari finished off his race very strongly in the closing stages to chase home the well-drawn and positively ridden Berneuil, and with his old rival stranded right out in stall 18, he’s comfortably expected to turn around the form. Obviously, in such a big field, he will need a certain amount of luck in running being a hold-up performer, but providing the gaps open at the right time, nothing will be finishing off stronger.
The latter shouldn’t be anywhere near good enough to win a race like this, but with a low draw and heavy ground likely to be a greater leveller, she’s fancied to outrun her odds. Fourth in this race last race last season from stall 10, she easily fared best of those housed in a double-figure box and although she’s yet to add to her remarkable six wins from last term, she has run some notable races in defeat. Runner-up to the rapidly-improving Manaccan at Doncaster two starts ago, she ran about as well as could be expected on ground faster than ideal at Ayr last time out and with those two performances going a long way to suggest she arrives her in similar shape to twelve months ago, Adrian Nicholls’ filly looks destined to finish further up the field than many ahead of her in the betting just based on her ability to handle the ground and draw.
Kinross is rightfully judged as one of the best horses over this specialist trip of seven-furlongs in Europe, if not the world, and under similar conditions to last year, he has every chance of bettering his never-nearer fourth behind Space Blues. However, as you’d expect, he has been chalked up accordingly around the 6/4 and makes limited appeal at those sort of odds, so the value may lie elsewhere in the shape of FANG (best price 8/1).
A proper mudlark and, just as important a regular over today’s trip on home soil, his recent improvement has coincided with him being gelded mid-summer as since that procedure he’s won three of his last four starts. His latest effort, his first at Group level came at the expense of a useful field and looking at his backend sectionals that day courtesy of France Galop, he was the horse who quickened the best from three out on the eight-race card. Clearly a horse who can operate to a fair level under testing conditions and significantly 2-2 over today’s track, the son of Goken is fancied to finish in the frame at the very least and he deserves to be backed each-way accordingly.