Following two winners yesterday, Andy Holding is back with eight tips for today's action, including a NAP at Kempton.
DATSALRIGHTGINO (best price 9/1) shaped on his last two starts like he’s badly in need of a tide change in terms of trip and with today’s assignment potentially offering just the kind of test that should see him to best advantage, Jamie Snowden’s gelding is fancied to easily outrun his odds.
A good winner in a smart time figure on just his second start over fences, the son of It’s Gino was then well-backed to land a tougher contest at Newbury next time and although he came up a little short on the day, the numbers and subsequent form of the race (namely Balco Coastal and Aucunriaque) suggested he’d run to an even higher level in defeat.
Again, asked to race at the minimum trip at Doncaster last time, the combination of a very fast pace and quick ground meant he was always swimming against the tide, but to his great credit, he never gave up the ghost at any stage and he kept on well enough to finish a respectable fourth behind Haddex Des Obeaux, who has gone on to score again since.
Finally, racing over 2m4f for the first time over fences and at a track where he has performed well in the past, a prominent early position should hopefully lead to a more productive outcome.
If there is going to be a result completely from left field, FERN HILL (best price 22/1) has all the hallmarks of providing that shock and, if you are prepared to forgive him his last run, there’s no way he should be anywhere near the 25/1 quotes he’s been given up this morning.
Only a 11/1 poke to land a competitive handicap against more established chasers at Kempton last time out, it was clear from an early stage that racing right-handed wasn’t suiting him and after a couple of uncharacteristically hesitant jumps through the first mile, the final nail in his coffin came when he walked through the last in the back straight.
Eased right off and eventually left trailing in ninth, he now heads back in a direction of his optimum trip and if you look at his form figures when racing left-handed in and around the 2m4f mark, they read 112221. On a track where prominent racers tend to dominate, especially on soft ground, Ben Case’s gelding has a run style that points towards him being a bigger player than the market affords him.
Richard Hobson is enjoying a much more fruitful campaign now that his horses are free of the general bugs and ailments that plagued them last year and with FUGITIF (best price 4/1) going a long way to add to the bulging prize fund accrued by the Gloucester handler, the eight-year-old rates a strong choice to keep up the good work.
Not quite good enough for the Graded company he faced twice last season, the son of Ballingarry has had his sights lowered to a degree so far this term and following a promising effort over the minimum trip on his first visit to Prestbury Park back in November, he went on to post a career high performance at Chepstow last time out.
In what turned out to be a strongly run affair at the Welsh venue, the lightly-raced sort travelled well right from the start and, once picking up the running after the fourth last, he readily drew clear of his toiling rivals.
Not unduly punished to do so, it’s difficult to say for certain how much he had in hand, but either way, he remains a horse worth keeping on side until told otherwise and today’s test should prove to be right up his street.
Plenty of promising types on show in this open-looking three-miler for novices, and of those who appear to have been a little underestimated by the layers, THE WOUNDED KNEE (best price 16/1) and TWIG (best price 14/1) have enough qualities to cause an upset.
The former treads a similar path to The Real Whacker, having left Ann Duffield to pastures new at Patrick Neville’s yard, and if his stable mate is anything to go by, the son of Yeats might just turn out to be the joker in the pack.
Good enough to mix it against some useful novices at Cheltenham when last seen, he jumped from a rating of 118 to 134 in one fell swoop and with the likelihood of even more to come now racing over three miles on good ground, the stoutly-bred gelding can give it a good lash from the front.
The latter has enjoyed a fruitful early part of the campaign having been well placed by connections, but he always came across as being the type who will be seen to better effect in a stronger race. The way he travels in his races adds substance to that theory and with his in-form handler having landed this prize with the likes of Barters Hill, Nadaitak and the ill-fated The Cob in recent times, Ben Pauling’s inmate is certainly talented enough to add himself to that role of honour.
ANIMAL (best price 6/1) has long since left the impression there’s a decent race with his name on it somewhere and having improving with small increments throughout this season, today might turn out to be the day he finally delivers the goods.
Arguably not quite gone on as well as his bumper win at Market Rasen suggested he might, Suzy Smith’s gelding has, at least, won two races, and even though he hasn’t managed to add to that tally in three starts this term, his performance levels suggest he’s not too far away.
An excellent third over today’s C&D behind subsequent winner Quick Draw two starts ago, the son of Arcadia backed up that sound effort when filling out the same position in a similar contest at Wincanton last time out and with both sets of time figures pointing towards him running to a fair level for the grade, there’s every reason to feel upbeat about his chance here this afternoon.
TEA FOR FREE (best price 4/1) impressed with the way he handled his biggest test so far to date at Newbury last time out and with today’s track and conditions seen as ideal as far as he is concerned, Charlie Longsdon’s gelding can maintain his unbeaten record over fences.
Impressing both visually and on the clock on his seasonal bow at Uttoxeter, the son of Court Cave duly followed up when well fancied to do so back over the same track next time, but even allowing for his progression, there was still an element of surprise of the way he completed his hat trick at the Berkshire venue last time.
Always to the fore 28 days ago, the eight-year-old maintained a tremendous gallop in deteriorating conditions and despite his race being the last race of the card, his data still came out just as well as most of the chases in the earlier part of the day.
A bold jumper who has an attacking style of racing and a willing attitude to match, another brash display by this improving chaser looks on the cards.
ZIGGY (NAP) (best price 11/10) just found the classy Forest Of Dean a little too sharp for him in the latter stages of a fast-track qualifier at Newcastle last time out, but with seemingly nothing of that calibre standing in the way of Harry Eustace’s gelding here this evening, a return to the scene of his previous success should see him regain the winning thread.
On the face of it, the son of Sixties Icon looked to have a stiff task on his hands up against several who had acquitted themselves with distinction in the listed Churchill Stakes at Lingfield previously, but to his great credit, he managed to split two horse rated 105 and 107 respectively at a track he was unfamiliar with.
Hugely impressive at the Sunbury venue the time before when coming from a seemingly impossible position to score with loads in hand, a return to a longer trip and slower surface will play into his strengths and providing there’s a reasonable gallop on from the start, the five-year-old should have all bases covered.