Andy Holding has eight tips from Goodwood and Galway this Friday
TASHI (best price 5-1) has shaped well on both her two starts so far this season and it would come as little surprise if today sees her make that vital and well-deserved breakthrough.
Fifth on her opening gambit of the campaign at Roscommon when she just failed to get home through lack of fitness, Sheila Lavery’s filly was able to see her race out much better at Naas last time out with that all0importnat run under her belt. Keeping on well all the way to the line, the daughter of Kingston Hill made the useful Tasalka worh hard for her corn and with the pair nicely clear in a smart speed figure, it was clearly a performance of some merit. Back to the scene of her fine effort on debut this time last year, the chestnut filly should be good enough to hit the frame at the very least.
Khaloosy ran out one of the most striking winners of the entire meeting at Royal Ascot, landing the competitive Britannia Handicap in a romp and he easily looks up to this level based on that performance, but MY OBERON (best price 7-2) also exhibited some smart moves when dancing to victory on his latest start at York and he rates the pick on value grounds.
Unable to make much of an impact on debut at Newmarket despite shaped with credit, William Haggas’ colt was backed as if defeat was out of the question on the Knavesmire a month later and in proving the money in his direction was absolutely spot on, he posted some extremely tasty numbers for a novice event. Quickening on demand from the three pole, the son of Dubawi rattled home faster than the five-furlong sprinters on the same card, one of them which was Moss Gill, and even though today’s contest is a far cry from winning that relatively lowly contest, he looks like he could have a future at this level based on the evidence presented 13 days ago.
SIR BUSKER (best price 6-1) has been a massive player in three of the best handicaps run so far this season and a reproduction of any of those performances is likely to see this tough character go close again.
A shade fortunate in some respects to gain the day over subsequent Hunt Cup winner, Dark Vision, on his seasonal bow at Newcastle, the son of Sir Prancealot was undoubtedly the best horse on merit in the consolation race over the straight mile at Ascot next time and with the form of both races working out an absolute treat subsequently, he went to Newmarket last time out with high hopes of completing the hat trick. Although he ran a blinder to finish second, he ultimately found the seven-furlongs that day just catching him out and now returning to his optimum distance on ground that he likes, he’s likely to prove fully effective. Moreover, the four-year-old has run well on both his two visits to the Sussex venue and he’s also gone and bagged a handy draw for good measure.
PABLO ESCOBARR (best price 5-1) often wears his heart on his sleeve, and even that commendable trait hasn’t allowed him to get his head in front so far this season, but there’s more than a fair chance he will gain his due rewards – especially if he’s ridden with a little more restraint than of late.
Setting blistering fractions at Newbury last time out, it came as no surprise to see the son of Galileo succumb to the more patiently ridden pair Global Giant and Extra Elusive, but to his great credit he did keep on battling away to finish a close-up third and on the figures, that performance worked out as one his career best efforts. Having twice run well at today’s track on both visits, including when getting off the mark in a maiden two years ago, William Haggas’ charge can use those valuable experiences to his advantage when returning to the downs and a big run looks on the cards from this likeable gelding.
A viciously-tough handicap hurdle for punters to solve but one at a bigger price who may outrun his morning odds is LEAHMAN (best price 33-1).
A useful juvenile hurdler last season, the son of Lawman managed to win once in five starts and that came courtesy of a wide-margin success at Gowran last October. Just out of the frame on his last two outings, Terence O’Brien’s gelding came back into the fold on the Flat after a 219-day break and following a pipe-opener when seventh in a big-field handicap at Navan, he then went on to run a cracker in a similar heat at the Curragh last time out. Travelling well from the start, the four-year-old looked the most likely winner turning for home until the fast-finishing Place Des Vogses came and picked his pocket late on, but that effort very much suggests he’s improved immeasurably in the last few months. Reverted back to hurdles off what appears a fair mark, he should be capable of putting up some sort of fight.
Arguably one of the most competitive and difficult-to-solve races of the entire week but both SAYO (best price 16-1) and PLINTH (best price 20-1) hold clear chances on the pick of their best form and they are each worth risking at the morning prices,
The former has rather lost his way in recent times after finish third in the 2018 Triumph Hurdle, but there were distinct signs that he may be ready to return to brighter days’ courtesy of his promising performance on the Flat at the Curragh 35 days ago. Held up towards the rear in the ultra-competitive apprentice Derby at the Co Kildare track, the son of Dalakhani came home with a rare rattle down the outside once out in the clear, leaving the impression he may have won with a smoother passage. Now clearly there’s a little faith put in the six-year-old translating that sort of effort back to the winter game, but it was only last season he was winning a beginners’ chase over today’s course and this once classy performer hasn’t quite gone at the game based on recent evidence.
The latter is getting a little long in the tooth, but he still might have plenty to offer on recent evidence and he too should not be totally dismissed out of hand. A creditable sixth in the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary behind yesterday’s Galway Hurdle hero Aramon, the son of Montjeu finished ahead of some smart performers that day such as Ornua, Turnpike Trip, Davids Charm, Chosen Mate and the Galway Plate winner, Early Doors. Backing up that effort with another solid display over fences in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan last time out he again left the impression he’s thriving since switching to his new handler and Enda Bolger’s gelding looks to have brighter prospect than his odds imply in a race he went well for a long way last season (ridden too aggressively from the front).
GUNFIRE REEF (NAP) (best price 9-2) arrives here right on top of his game courtesy of two impressive victories and with the potential of him still being a very well handicapped horse, he rates a decent bet to complete a quick-fire hat trick.
Returning to action with a respectable effort over hurdles at Tipperary, Mags Mullins’ gelding returned to the Limerick Junction venue three weeks later for a spin back over fences and he went on to roll back the years with a display of some authority. Clocking a decent overall time that day, it was noticeable he also managed to post a much faster circuit time than the classy Davids Charm who took the beginners chase over a mile shorter. Armed with that knowledge, it therefore came as no great surprise to see him totally dismantle his rivals when taking advantage of his old hurdles mark at Limerick four days later and those two victories have quite rightly prompted connections to think on a much bigger scale for the son of King’s Theatre. Although he doesn’t necessarily have to lead (was ridden just off the pace at Tipperary), he got into such a lovely jumping rhythm 12 days ago that it would seem churlish not to allow to play into his strengths of attacking from the front and if so, he could be very difficult to peg back if all goes well from the start.