A top quality sprint handicap to start the Channel 4 racing card today, run over five furlongs at what is likely to be a break neck speed. With a spread of handicap ratings from 91 right up to 106 and ages from 3 to 8 there are plenty of different types of horses to consider for our betting tips.
Startting with our selection here and we think that Kevin Ryan’s Lexington Abbey (14/1 Each Way) seems pretty well weighted and has the help of the excellent Pat Smullen in the saddle. After surprising many when winning on heavy ground on his return at Nottingham, the five-year-old ran really well when third to Tangerine Trees after failing to quicken up enough to pick the leaders off as expected.That was in a slowly run race and he ought to be a whole lot happier coming off a quicker pace this afternoon which seems assured with so many runners, and at the prices her certainly makes some appeal.
A rejuvenated Hoofalong (12/1) looks likely to get in to the mix after winning his last two races at Chelmsford and Musselburgh, the latter in similar class when seeing off Thesme by a length and quarter under claiming jockey Nathan Evans who is reunited with the six-year-old again this afternoon. Clearly they get on well, and he is certainly proving to be very good value for his five pound claim. The horse has been put up another six pounds for that win which leaves him needing a clear career best if he wants to land the hattrick this afternoon which is no mean feat for a horse with 35 starts.
Next on our race preview we have the Ronald Harris trained Union Rose (16/1) who is one of the less exposed options here having only had the one outing this season when runner up to Ladweb at Sandown off a mark two pounds lower than he is forced to carry today. In theory he seems pretty likely to improve hand over fist for his first run since last October, but we do note that all his best form seems to come on going with plenty of cut in it, including a win at York on soft ground last year. As it seems unlikely he will get those conditions here he is an interesting one to watch but perhaps not the most obvious winner, though our final decisions will be made when our betting tips come out.
Newmarket trainer Roger Varian won this last season with Double Up and will try to do the same this year with top weight Maljaa (14/1), who may yet a be a Group class sprinter masquerading as a handicapper for now. Top three finishes in all of his ten races, including wins at York, Doncaster, and Haydock (twice) have helped him to over £78,000 in prize money to date, but his supporters will need to forgive him a last of seventeen at Epsom when last seen in action. He was drawn the wrong side of the track as it turns out and may not have been at home on the track either, so maybe he can be forgiven after all.
Those looking for an outsider to back will note that trainer Gary Moore cannot buy a winner of late but still has a decent enough horse on his hands in the shape of course and distance winner Dutch Masterpiece (25/1) who seems sure to win at a big price when the stable return to form. Rated 100 this afternoon, jockey Hector Crouch takes five pounds off his back and at his very best that would see him with a realistic each way chance. His supporters will be taking a big risk on the stable form if they part with any of their money on the six-year-old this afternoon, and he’ll need to bounce back from five fairly hefty defeats in a row.