After picking up three winners from four selections yesterday, Andy Holding is back with seven tips from today's action, including a NAP at Wolverhampton.
13:05 Gowran Park
ARCHIES CHARM (best price 9/4) gave the in-form Final Orders the fright of his life at Down Royal last time out and with the time figure from that race 21 days ago suggesting it was a very strong one of its kind, the son of Shantou looks the one to beat on the balance of his form.
Shaping as though he badly needed the run on his first start for over a year at Galway back a month ago, Brian Hamilton’s gelding faced what appeared a tough task on paper at the Co Down venue next time but as it turned out, he was more than up for the task.
After losing his prominent pitch slightly as the field turned for home, the seen-year-old rallied to the cause on the run down to the last and that momentum he gathered was maintained all the way to the line as he pulled out all the stops to keep main market rival honest. Well clear of subsequent winner Arctic Ambition, it’s worth pointing the front two not only ran a pretty decent overall figure, there final circuit time was on-par with the likes of Envoi Allen and Fury Road, who were successful at Graded level earlier on the same card.
A winner on heavy ground over hurdles at Limerick, today’s conditions, therefore, shouldn’t be any inconvenience and with his proven ability to stay three miles also likely to come in handy, he has all the attributes for a race of this nature.
A trappy-looking handicap chase with plenty of varying outcomes depending on how the race pans out, but with the ground riding quicker than normal for this time of year, both ZANZA (best price 9/2) and DUBLIN FOUR (best price 6/1) are fancied to capitalise under their ideal conditions.
The former can be a law unto himself, but at the same time, we know he can operate at a fair level when he gets out of the right side of bed. Winless since winning at this very meeting over two miles two years ago, Philip Hobbs’ gelding intimated a return to something like his best at Wetherby last time out when he stayed on strongly from three out to finish a creditable runner-up to the useful Karl Phillipe.
On the evidence of that display, the blinkers seemed to work the oracle and with today’s conditions set to suit him more than most, the son of Arcadio should turn out to be a major factor.
The latter has also proven in the past that today’s flat, galloping, left-handed track suits and following a promising performance on his return to action at Wetherby recently, Fergal O’Brien’s gelding deserves to go on the shortlist.
Having his first outing for 168 days at the Yorkshire venue, the son of Arakan looked to fighting a losing battle as the field turned for home, but it was from this point he really knuckled down to the task and by the time he’d hit the line, he’d managed to work himself into the runner-up spot, only three lengths behind the eventual winner.
On the evidence of his overall profile, good ground is very much the key to his chances and with two of his best career efforts coming over today’s C&D when conditions have been in his favour, there’s no reason to think he will continue that theme here this afternoon.
LORD BADDESLEY (best price 5/1) hasn’t quite got the same sexy profiles of some of today’s field, but what he does have in abundance is rock-solid form in plenty of big-field, well-run handicaps and he can put that knowledge to good use on ground that will suit him more than most.
Good enough to finish a close-up fourth in last season’s Betfair Hurdle over today’s course, the form of that race has stood the test with the likes of I Like To Move It, Knappers Hill and Boothill to name a few, all landing big pots since.
The way he stayed on in the closing stages at the Berkshire venue very much suggested he would improve for stepping up in trip and that has turned out to be the case with his run in the Silver Trophy first time out and his latest success at Plumpton both strong pieces of form.
One of the fittest members of today’s field courtesy of those two runs under his belt this season, added to the fact he’s a course winner who will love the ground makes him a rock-solid each-way proposition at the morning odds.
WAR SOLDIER (best price 7/4) produced an extremely eye-catching display on his return to action at Wetherby last month and, after leaving the impression a stiffer test would suit, Sandy Thompson’s gelding is fancied to back up that view at a track where he’s already a proven winner.
Strongly fancied to run well on his seasonal bow at the Yorkshire venue judged on the pre-race betting, the son of Soldier Of Fortune didn’t quite manage to give his supporters a return for their investment, but what he did do was strongly hint he would be a good deal more street-wise next time.
The way he finished off his race despite racing keenly in the early stages suggests he has a fair engine, and with the likelihood he will be less exuberant following that initial run, he’ll have every chance of adding to his previous success in a bumper over today’s course.
A typically wide-open renewal of one the season’s most prestigious handicap chases but should REMASTERED (best price 7/1) run anywhere near the level he did in this race last year before falling, David Pipe’s inmate looks booked to be one of the main players.
Having jumped immaculately for the thick end of three miles, to see him totally guess and fall at the fourth last here twelve months ago was something of a shock but despite that crunching tumble, it doesn’t seem to have affected his confidence.
Using the very same hurdle race at Aintree for his preparation as he did last year, this time the son of Network was successful and given the manner of his victory even came as a bit of a surprise to connection (stable mate Gericault Roque was the more fancied of the pair), there’s every reason to expect further improvement.
Although he’s probably more comfortable on a softer surface than today, the conditions aren’t a million miles off what they were last year and safe with the knowledge we know he can breathe better following his recent operation, the nine-year-old can put up another bold bid.
MISS CALCULATION (NAP) (best price 2/1) just got caught a little out of her ground over tonight’s C&D last time out but she finished off her race to such effect she rates a confident choice to make amends on her return visit.
Having her first outing over today’s course, John Quinn’s was soon on the back foot after being hampered coming out of the gates and although she did her level best to overcome that setback, she couldn’t quite peg back Min Till, who obtained first run.
On the evidence of that encouraging display, she clearly enjoyed tonight’s surface and with a smoother run through from her decent draw she rates a strong choice to prove she’s quite well handicapped off a mark of 60.