Andy Holding is back with three tips for today's action, including a NAP at Newbury.
DR T J ECKLEBURG (NAP) (best price 2/1) not only represents a stable going at a healthy 28% strike rate at present, he also boasts the best singular piece of form courtesy of his fine fourth at Sandown last time out and the combination of those two factors make Olly Murphy’s inmate a very tempting proposition at the morning prices.
Pitched into a red-hot class 2 affair at the Esher venue 76 days ago, the five-year-old did really well to finish a close up fourth considering how keen he was early and when you add into the mix he was only half-a-length behind subsequent Imperial Cup winner Iceo, his performance reads even better than it did on that day.
Unblemished from that excellent effort in terms of his mark, he now takes a drop in grade on ground he relishes, hailing from an in-form barn – what’s not to like?
Of his main market rivals, Russian Ruler has questions to ask on account of today’s soft ground, while the same comments apply to Arqoob who also needs to brush up on his jumping (spends quite a bit of time in the air).
ISLAND RUN (best price 13/2) seems to be getting his act together of late and arriving here following a career-high performance at Wincanton last time out, confidence is high he can continue his progression despite being edged up in grade.
Having his first run after a 78-day break, the son of Blue Bresil was well backed to put behind him a slightly below-par effort at Taunton previously and, having latched on to the main pack turning for home, he stayed on strongly in the latter stages to duly land the gamble.
Impressing with the way he hit the line at the West Country venue, his overall time and final circuit splits suggested he’d run to a pretty high standard for the grade and with that display not the first time he’s showed improved form granted a test of stamina, today’s big field and likely decent pace should ensure he gets the ideal circumstances to shine again.
BENAVENTE (best price 5/1) is putting together a decent sequence of results and following a couple of near misses on his last two starts, it could well turn out to be a case of third time lucky for Richard O’Brien’s gelding.
A fine third in a similarly competitive C&D handicap following a 58-day break earlier this month, the Twilight Son gelding ran equally well when up to a mile on his latest start and with both sets of time figures suggesting he didn’t leave anything out on the track, he clearly arrives here in pretty decent shape.
Unlikely to claw back the powerful galloper, Higher Kingdom, having given him a healthy head start in the early stages 14 days ago, he did well in the circumstances to get the losing margin down to under a length and with tonight’s trip very much seen as his optimum, the in-form five-year-old looks booked for another positive display.