Thirteen horses line up in the first at Lingfield today, a Class 6 maiden handicap worth £2,588 to the winner. Read on for our expert’s thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: ZABDI doesn’t always appear to put his best foot forward but he has the assistance of George Baker for the first time today and he rides this particular track ever so well. He should have him in a handy position turning for home and if making the necessary improvement after a career best second at Chelmsford last month, he could be tough to beat. Waseem has been unlucky the last twice and can get involved if having a clear passage but the one most likely to trouble the selection is Ross Raith Rover, whose yard have sent out one winner from two starts in the last fortnight and who finished a decent third last time at Kempton. They both have less to prove than the others and they can chase the Lee Carter horse home.
1 Waseem – Only seven career starts so far at around 1m and on a career low mark of 60 for this race. Ran well in defeat in two Class 6 handicaps in October, unlucky not to finish closer in both after meeting trouble at Brighton and then tiring late on over the furthest trip he has tried so far at Wolverhampton. Disappointing effort when he had only two behind in a twelve runner race at Chelmsford last month. Tackles 7f for the first time today and that should hold no fears given his form over further and has a Visor on instead of cheekpieces. Claims from a good draw in Stall 3.
2 Cloud Nine – Only three runs so far for this yard and has failed to finish higher than sixth so far in minor company. Only eighth of ten on his final start last May at Newmarket (Good/Firm). Makes his handicap debut today after an absence of 242 days and has shown nothing so far to suggest the switch to this company will spark any improvement. Hard to fancy.
3 Bingo George – Still a maiden after eleven starts and only ran into the frame twice. Fair fourth when wearing a hood for the first time on his last start at over C&D two months ago in a similar race. On a decent mark for this having tumbled 14lb in the weights since entering handicaps and the hope will be he can improve on that C&D run today after a short break. Has David Probert back on board who has finished last on him the last two times he has ridden him. Improvement needed to get involved today.
4 Ross Raith Rover – Four runs so far and improved from his third run in maidens sent into handicap company on a mark of 58 when third at Kempton over this trip in lesser company forty days ago. Was doing good work at the finish that day and connections reach for cheekpieces for the first time in this. Should go well from a workable mark despite being drawn in Stall 10 and Robert Eddery is 1-3 with his runners in the last fortnight. Claims.
5 Frank Cool – Had three runs for David Lanigan and didn’t show much twice on turf and once on the All Weather at Kempton, all over 7f. Had his first run for this yard when well beaten by 13 ¾ lengths at Southwell eleven days ago after well over a year off the track. Should come on for that run but best watched for now entering handicaps and plenty to find for the win despite a good draw in Stall 1.
6 Zabdi – Previously trained by Richard Hannon for whom he showed placed form up to Class 4 company achieving a rating of 69 in the process. Showed his best form so far in his fifth run since switching to Lee Carter by finishing second of 13 in a similar race at Chelmsford last month. Well beaten that day and has an unchanged mark as a consequence. Hasn’t been the most consistent so far but has the assistance of George Baker today who has a strike rate of 21% in the last fortnight and who rides this track so well with an 18% strike rate her in the last five years. Should be competitive on best form despite a less than ideal draw in Stall 12 but he has the ideal jockey to get him into a good position and strong claims off a mark of 54 If improving for that last run. Yard also run Home Again.
7 Miramonte Dancer – Had a couple of good runs in ten career starts so far but has been well beaten in his last three races up to 1m, finishing no better than eighth in each. Tries Polytrack and a hood for the first time which tempers enthusiasm for win purposes against some horses with smarter form on this surface. Yard has been quiet of late and best avoided today.
8 Colour Force – Just five starts so far and ran a career best when third of 12 at Yarmouth (Good/Firm) in August. Failed to follow up two months later when trying Polytrack for the first time at Kempton but the return to a straight track should suit. Luke Morris retains the ride after being on board the last twice and tries cheekpieces today with connections also reapplying a tongue strap. The yard has been quietly recently and are 0-11 in the last fortnight. Can be ruled out
9 Home Again – Still a maiden after thirteen runs and now with his third trainer. Placed three times in his first five starts achieving a mark of 65 but has failed to fire since in minor company and only rated 50 for this. Well beaten in a slightly better race at Wolverhampton over 7f at the end of November and plenty of improvement to find. NON-RUNNER.
10 Annabella – Three runs so far and has shown steady improvement in each. Fifth of 6 in a slightly better maiden last month over 1m when 50/1. Has yet to find her best trip and makes her handicap debut today dropping back to 7f for only the second time from a decent draw in Stall 2. Likely to find a few of these too good and hard to fancy given her lack of early pace and others preferred.
11 Aqshion Stations – Lightly raced maiden with only four starts so far, three of them coming in maidens up to 7f. Showed some ability when not beaten far in sixth of 12 at Kempton in September with Shane Kelly on board but has been well beaten since including when fifth from a mark of 63 at Chelmsford sixty seven days ago on his first start in handicaps . Has been gelded now but looks held judged on his last two runs despite a further 4lb drop in the weights.
12 Metronomic – Has had plenty of chances now with eight runs under his belt but always seems to find a few too good. Fair fourth of 5 at Newcastle ten days ago and yard and jockey have been fairly quiet recently on the All Weather with no wins from eleven runs. No reason to think he will be able to make his presence felt with first time cheekpieces fitted today.
13 Dolly Dimples – Only four runs so far and well beaten when eleventh of 15 in a nursery handicap at Chelmsford last month. Has the assistance of Josephine Gordon on board who has been riding really well in the last few days but needs a career best to get involved today with the hood worn in her last race left off this time.
14 Lily Fontana – Lightly raced at sprint trips so far and well beaten when last of 9 at Wolverhampton two weeks ago. Has the potential to improve now switching to handicaps and is with a top trainer if she is to do so. Tries 7f for the first time but best watched for now with the yard only sending out three winners from 40 runners in the last fortnight and others looking to have a stronger chance of notching a first win.