13:20 Ayr

The father and son combination of Mike and Ben Smith have enjoyed a fair bit of success when they’ve teamed up with runners at their local track and DANCE THIEF (best price 8-1) could easily turn out to be one of the most notable winners for the duo if performing to the same level as he did last time out. 

Not quite seeing out the trip over 2m4f here two starts ago, the decision to drop him back to two miles looked a valid one on his return visit and having travelled well off strong fractions, he came through purposely in the closing stages to score going away. 

Posting his fastest speed figure by some way 41 days ago, the son of Leading Light clearly arrives here in the form of his life and with another strongly run race looking extremely likely, he is fancied to raise his game to the levels required. 

Dance Thief - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1

14:12 Newbury

A pat on the back for finding the winner of this race will be well and truly deserved but there’s a decent chance the self-praise might be initiated if either DIVINE LIBRA (best price 17-2) or KNEBWORTH (best price 7-1) run up to their best form. 

The former was a progressive type in three-year-old sprints handicaps during the middle part of last season and even though he didn’t manage to justify favouritism on either of his last two starts, he did more than enough to suggest brighter days lay ahead with another year under his belt.

According to the numbers, at his best when coming through strong off a solid pace with some ease underfoot, today’s environment looks ideal and having gone well fresh in the past, Charlie Hills’ grey looks poised to make a decent start to the new campaign.

The latter has the all-important advantage of having fitness on his side, so there shouldn’t be too many excuses for him not to run well and he also arrives here in good form. 

Overrun in the latter stages after being too keen on the sharp end of a strongly run affair at Kempton on his most recent outing, he should be better judged on his previous success on soft ground at Doncaster and although he has yet to run at today’s course before, all his best form has come on similar straight, flat galloping tracks. 

Divine Libra - 1pt e/w @ 17/2
Knebworth - 1pt e/w @ 7/1

14:20 Ayr

Catch Him Derry had his recent Bangor second form boosted by the winner at Aintree so it’s easy to see why Dan Skelton’s inmate is a warm order to go one place better in this competitive handicap but preference at the prices goes to SHOESHINE BOY (best price 14-1), who comes out well on the numbers and vitally, has C&D form under his belt. 

Consistent in the early part of the season without winning, his performance levels have significantly improved since the fitting of a tongue-tie and his victory here three starts ago was a sign of even better things to come.

Successful on his next outing at Kelso, the speed figure he posted that day was another step forward and even though he could only manage fifth in a hugely competitive heat at Haydock last time, once again the numbers suggested he’d run to a career high. Not only did the race in question record the fastest overall furlong-per-furlong time on the card, the final lap was a second quicker than Brentford Hope over two miles and that is a sure sight the form should stack up going forward. 

Back at a track where his form figures read 211 and with ground conditions in his favour, the eight-year-old can keep his handler’s impressive recent record (two winners from last three runners) going in the right direction. 

Shoeshine Boy - 0.5pts e/w @ 14/1