3.20pm Thirsk Tips & Betting Preview 24/04/2016

IN SUMMARY: Free Zone ended last season with a very respectable effort and will be feared if strong in the betting before his debut for the much-respected David O’Meara stable. However, it could be worth chancing the fitness of DESERT ACE (10/1 Each Way), who had a quiet season last year but did run well over C&D, has slipped to a handy mark and is sure to appreciate today’s drop in class. Mishaal finished last on his only previous attempt at 5f but showed good speed when making the running in a Class 2 handicap over 6f at Kempton on his seasonal debut and is also of interest. Bapak Asmara bids to complete a hat-trick but went up 9lb for his success in a small-field event on his latest outing in July and hasn’t been seen since.

1 Desert Ace – Drew a blank in 2015 and wasn’t firing on all cylinders when last seen in the autumn; returns to action with something to prove but reduced handicap mark allows him to dip into Class 4 company for first time since 2014, and it’s worth noting his best run last year came over C&D.

2 Whozthecat – Won twice over 6f last year and was very creditable second in big field at York (7f, soft) in October; began current season on tough mark, though, and was soundly beaten when dropped back to 5f for recent reappearance; remains vulnerable over this trip off only 1lb lower today.

3 Mishaal – Winless since November 2014 but put in good front-running shift when fifth after absence at Kempton (6f, AW) in March; only ever raced over 5f once but showed enough speed last time to suggest he’s worth another crack at this trip; runs off lower turf mark here; one to consider.

4 Captain Dunne – 11yo who was very useful in his prime and began last season with two C&D wins from the front; out of form when last seen in the autumn and remains on fairly tough mark, but no surprise if he makes a bold bid.

5 Tumblewind – Won over C&D in 2014 but all four runs last season were over 6f; reached the frame on last three outings but this will be her first run for 292 days and, in addition fitness, she needs to prove she still has the necessary speed for 5f.

6 Pearl Acclaim – Last of six when favourite at Chelmsford in January but began the year with two good runs in defeat over that C&D; seems to be in steady decline but will be suited by today’s return to turf and is on a workable mark if back on song.

7 Bapak Asmara – Came good in C&D (good to firm) maiden in May, his fifth start, and readily followed-up in small-field handicap at Haydock (5f, good to soft) a few weeks later; bids to complete hat-trick after 295-day layoff but is open to further progress if fully revved up.

8 Free Zone – No longer the force of old but signed off for Robert Cowell with very respectable fourth at Pontefract (5f, good to soft) in October; makes debut for David O’Meara today and it will be very interesting to see what his new trainer can do with him.

9 Rusty Rocket – Outran 50-1 odds when runner-up on Fibresand after break in March; will be suited by today’s return to turf but looked very laboured on Tapeta on latest outing and it’s hard to know what to expect from his today.

10 Rita’s Boy – Predictably found 6f on heavy ground too taxing when down the field after break ten days ago, but some positives can be drawn from that performance; now only 1lb higher than when making all at Nottingham (5f, soft) in November and not ruled out.

11 Apricot Sky – Capitalised on some help from the handicapper when gaining two wins within three starts last August/September but seemed to have gone off the boil by the autumn; back from winter break today and others have more appealing profiles.

myracing Forecast Prices: 7/2 Free Zone, 4/1 Bapak Asmara, 8/1 Desert Ace, Mishaal, Captain Dunne, Pearl Acclaim, 10/1 Rita’s Boy, 14/1 Tumblewind, Rusty Rocket, Apricot Sky, 16/1 Whozthecat

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