Andy Holding has six tips from Newmarket, Goodwood and Galway this Saturday
COSMIC PRINCESS (best price 13-2) is very difficult to assess accurately in the context of today’s race off the back of just two runs, but there’s more than a fair chance she will prove equal to the task based on her performance at Newbury last time out.
Promising on her only start at two, Hughie Morrison’s filly arrived at the Berkshire venue without a run for 164 days, but that long absence didn’t stop her running out a convincing winner of a very competitive fillies’ novice event. Looking in trouble three out when struggling for room, the daughter of Kingman found a telling burst of speed inside the final furlong that carried her past the useful LA Dragontea in the dying strides, Hitting the line hard, she left the impression that she would be even better served by further than 1m2f, and even though she’s up against the likes of similarly progressive Katara and ever-consistent at this level Makawee, she’s still expected to more than hold her own.
It goes without saying you’re probably going to need a near pattern-race performance to take what looks an above-average renewal of this valuable sprint handicap and with the draw also likely to play a significant role, whittling the field down manageable numbers is the first port of call.
The first horse that fits the former criteria is undoubtedly Nahaarr and we could end up with a similar scenario to last year when the well-treated three-year-old Khaadem romped away with the prize, if he keeps improving at the rate he’s doing at the moment. Whether he’s a genuine 4-1 poke only time will tell, but either way, he’s a must for any shortlist. One who isn’t as classy but has shown solid form in these top-quality sprint handicaps for a while now is KIMIFIVE (best price 12-1) and he’s worth a small interest to achieve a better result than he did in this race last season.
Drawn 26 of 27 twelve months ago, Joseph Tuite’s gelding ended up being the meat in the sandwich when the two groups merged at the two-furlong pole and given the way he finished off his race when eventually out in the clear, it’s easy to come to the conclusion he would have been involved for a minor role at the very least. Unlucky again in his most recent encounter in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket, the son of Born To Sea once again left the impression he has much more to offer in one of these big-field handicaps and providing his stall right on the far side of the track doesn’t prove to be a coffin box (hopefully get towed along by Meraas and Atalanta’s Boy), he has enough ability, speed and stamina-wise, to make some sort of impact.
SOARING MONARCH (best price 5-1) ran an absolute blinder from a bad draw here on the second day of the meeting and he rates a confident choice to figure prominently once again from a much better stall position this time around.
Dropped out towards the rear in a competitive 15-strong field, Peter Fahey’s gelding had plenty on his plate as the field came down the hill, but picking up nicely as he met the rising ground, he stayed on willingly all the way to the line to get within three-quarters-of-a-length of the more handily positioned winner Talking Tough. A winner three starts ago at Limerick, it’s also worth pointing out he comes out of that maiden to end all maidens at Leopardstown earlier in the season whereby virtually everything has won since and even though he up against several potentially useful three-year-olds this afternoon, his vital track experience is bound to stand him in good stead.
The maiden won by Fancy Man at Haydock was noted for its strong speed figure for a juvenile heat and having run with extreme promise to finish fourth 14 days ago, TITAN ROCK (best price 11-1) is quietly fancied to hold his own against some of his well-touted counterparts.
Dwelling coming out of the gates, John Quinn’s newcomer was soon on the back foot, but in making up the lost ground and keeping on all the way down the straight, he managed to salvage something from the wreckage to finish a never-nearer fourth. Not knocked about in any way, the son of Belardo is likely to improve quite significantly for the experience and if breaking cleanly and holding a nice position up the inside from stall one, this attractive colt looks set to outrun his morning odds.
There’s no denying Princess Zoe is going to be difficult to beat having already landed a big pot here in some style earlier in the week, but LYNWOOD GOLD (best price 12-1) is no slouch himself, and at the prices, he rates the value call.
Taking a while to find his feet for new connections, Jessica Harrington’s grey is now a bone fide member of the premier handicap club courtesy of two smart performances in races of that nature of late and repeat of either display should see him on the scene. Third to the smart Dalton Highway in a well-run contest over two miles at the Curragh on his penultimate outing, the son of Mastercraftsman found the drop back in trip more to his liking on his return visit two weeks later by running out a decisive winner of a quality field. Moreover, most of his best form has come on a soft surface and even though he has a tricky draw to overcome in stall 15, he has the man of the moment on his back, Shane Foley, to help offset that slight negative.
Another who will benefit greatly from the recent rain is MELBURNIAN (best price 12-1) and she would undoubtedly have a better chance than her morning odds imply if running to the same levels that allowed her to land the Tote October Handicap is easy fashion at Leopardstown last season. Unsuccessful but consistent through the majority of the campaign, Tony Martin’s mare finally gained her just rewards for some sterling efforts in big-field, competitive handicaps and the way she cruised through the race at the Dublin track very indicated a horse who could operate at a high level when the ground underfoot is demanding. Looking badly in need of the run first time out this season when not knocked about in a premier handicap at Cork, the daughter of Zambezi Sun should come on a bundle for that initial outing and even though Tony Martin hasn’t quite hit the heights we normally expect during the week so far, it would be dangerous to write off the Co Kildare handler.