The ground was given as good to soft at Stratford on Sunday morning ahead of today’s card with a dry day forecast for raceday.
Richie Valentine carries a 7lbs penalty for scoring at Bangor-on-Dee last week when he had Lost In Montmatre (3.52) back in third but I believe the top-weight can reverse the form on 10lbs better terms if you consider jockeys’ allowances over this afternoon’s additional quarter of a mile.
The grey -7/2 with 10Bet – was never competitive in north Wales but ran on strongly to be beaten five lengths and I do feel the grey will appreciate the step back up in trip. Trainer Alistair Ralph had a couple of fancied horses run poorly at Bangor last week, but the mare jumped well until losing her position four out. She has bits of form in her native France which suggest she could be well treated off her current mark.
Soft ground at Pontefract and it would be no surprise if they came across to the stands’ side in the home straight. The 2m 2f handicap will be an extreme test on the ground and I hope to see the handicap debutant First Account (3.14) break his maiden tag on the flat for Keith Dalgleish.
The selection – 10/3 with William Hill – won a 2m 4f handicap hurdle on soft ground at Perth in a first-time visor back in June, and the headgear was left off when he ran in three flat maidens on good or faster ground in recent weeks. The visor is reapplied this afternoon and he looks fairly treated from an opening mark of just 62 with Billy Garrity also taking off a valuable 3lbs.
There is a terrific mile-and-a-half handicap at Lingfield, and I feel Sir Rumi (3.00) will appreciate stepping back up to 12f on polytrack. Richard Hannon’s 3-y-old failed to get home over 14f on his penultimate start and threw his race away by hanging left at Newmarket last time dropped back down to ten furlongs. He has an excellent draw in stall one for a horse who wants to go his left and he ran a good race here on his only previous start on polytrack.
I expect to see Bodyline get to the lead from stall three and hope to see Rossa Ryan get into a good position on the recommendation as they pass the winning post with a circuit to go. The each way recommendation is 13/2 with William Hill.
There is Group action at Tipperary where I hope to see Loch Lein (3.35) give Jessica Harrington another big race winner. The filly has a decent draw in stall six and won a listed contest at Deauville on very soft ground back in July. The selection would have found conditions much too quick at Doncaster last time, but she still ran a terrific race in defeat finishing third in the G3 Sceptre Stakes. The ew choice is 6s with MansionBet.