In today’s opener at Newcastle Spanish Kiss (4.10) was a late defection from a run on the turf at Windsor on Monday to wait for this tapeta handicap and he is taken to build on an eye-catching third at Lingfield on his last start.
The selection was drawn wide and his jockey decided to cut across at the back of the pack from the stalls where he sat and suffered until making a late charge on his first start over 12f. He has a much better draw in stall two today and the long home straight will surely suit. William Knight’s four-year-old is a big stamp of a horse and I was concerned about his ability to handle Windsor’s tight turns. No such worries today. The three-year-old was 7/2 with William Hill on Monday morning but a best price 7/4 with the same firm first thing Tuesday..
Indigo Lake (4.45) is 2lbs higher than when just touched off by stablemate To Nathaniel at Newmarket last time when he was a bit keen in his first-time blinkers. The headgear is applied again this afternoon and, if Rab Havlin can get him nice and relaxed in the early stage, he is taken to be produced late on to take the spoils in the feature race on the card. The recommendation is 5/2 with 10bet. One of the other three-year-olds in the field Eastern Sherriff is considered the main danger.
It hasn’t been a great time on the oche for Michael van Gerwen in recent weeks but the gelding Van Gerwen (8.50) has been in good form on turf of late on returns to the tapeta from a 7lbs lower mark than when runner up at Beverley last time.
The selection – 7/1 with Boylesports – has never won on the all-weather but he did run a good race here when third her from a 1lb lower mark back in March and he is given one last chance to show he can cope with an artificial surface. He has certainly improved on turf of late and the hope is that he can maintain that improvement returned to tapeta.
In the opening Novice Hurdle at Newton Abbott I am prepared to give Eye Of An Eagle (1.00) another chance despite throwing the race away at Fontwell last time when he drifted right on the run in as he looked for the way back to the stables. He is, arguably, a winner without a penalty and gets the vote ahead of The Bees Knees who makes his hurdles debut for Fergal O’Brien. A winning pointer, the five-year-old was made market leader for his reappearance in a Bumper at Market Rasen where he suggested he may need 2m 4f+ to be seen at his best over timber. The ew recommendation is 5/1 with Unibet from 11/2.
Dariya (2.05) goes unpenalized for turning a conditional jockey’s seller into a procession at Stratford at the weekend and, if she is in the same mood, she will be tough to beat. Jockey Tom Buckley takes off a valuable 7lbs and takes her weight down to 11st 7lbs. One note of caution she only carried 10st 2lbs at the weekend although she has carried 11st 6lbs to victory at Worcester earlier in her career. The mare is a best price of 11/4 with William Hill.
Story Of Friends bids to follow up last week’s C&D win in the 3m 2f handicap hurdle but this looks a better race and a 7lbs penalty makes life more difficult. Storm Home finished ahead of Story Of Friends last time and would be a huge danger but his stamina is not guaranteed.
Yeavering Belle (2.40) was well beaten at Uttoxeter last time but the winner – Yes No Maybe So – has subsequently followed up from a 9lbs higher mark and Kim Bailey’s mare is taken to make it four wins from her last five starts although this is a new trip for her and she is another whose stamina must be taken on trust. The selection is 3/1 with Unibet.
There is a valuable juvenile maiden over a mile at Goodwood with a number of the leading yards represented. Those with experience look vulnerable and the William Haggas colt Dhushan looks sure to have his supporters on debut. The vote, however, goes to Star Caliber (3.35) a Golden Horn colt who makes his racecourse debut for Andrew Balding and King Power Racing. The juvenile cost 200,000 gns as a yearling and is related to several winners – the stable like to run some of their better juveniles at their local track. The colt is 3/1 with Unibet.