Cheltenham is firmly on the horizon and our man Joe Eccles has a monster 50/1 Antepost selection for the Gold Cup. Saturday’s Clarence House is the highlight of a competitive day’s racing live on ITV. As we lead towards the weekend, here’s three eye-catching runners from the All-Weather action on Friday.
Last week’s treble came ever so close to landing. Ela Katrina did the business last week at Dundalk and Herm finished a creditable second at 11/1 behind a runaway leader. Merhoob came in for strong market support and was beaten just a neck into third behind two progressive rivals.
The William Haggas yard have had four winners from their last eight runners at Lingfield, taking their total over the past year to eleven victories. Over the past five seasons, the stable have a remarkable 29% strike-rate with their horses aged four and upwards on the All-Weather.
As a result, there’s every reason to have confidence in QAABIL as he makes his handicap debut today. Formerly trained in France, he finished a clear second to a rival now rated 90 on stable debut. He ran another big race next time out, just fading into fourth over a mile behind two runners from the John Gosden yard.
All of his form suggests that a mark of 72 is more than workable today as he returns from a seven week break. To further enhance his claims, he’s partnered by Adam Kirby, who has ridden a remarkable 133 winners at Lingfield over the past five years. Having ridden a winner for Haggas on his latest ride for the stable back in 2017, the rare combination looks to have strong claims of doubling up three years later.
Noel Meade’s ART OF AMERICA was on an eleven race losing streak before pitching up at Dundalk in November. Making his All-Weather debut at odds of 20/1, he was ridden out back by Colin Keane before coming home strongly to score.
He proved that to be no fluke when following up two weeks later under Gavin Ryan. In a packed finish, he showed a game attitude to double up, finishing ahead of a previous winner in third.
Ryan is once more booked to ride, claiming a handy five pounds as the five-year-old gelding bids for a three-timer. He’s up a further four pounds in the weights today, but he’s an improving sort who remains completely unexposed on synthetics. Having won both of his starts at Dundalk, he’s hard to oppose.
Every trainer in the UK wants a piece of Ben Curtis at the moment. The Irishman has ridden a frankly ridiculous twenty-two winners domestically already in 2020 from just 80 rides. He even scored over in Meydan on Thursday on the Mick Channon trained Certain Lad at 33/1.
He’ll be full of confidence as he returns to Blighty today for a card full of rides at Newcastle. His most appealing mount looks to be Charlie Hills’ TOMMY DE VITO who ran a big race on debut over course and distance in November. The son of Dandy Man was just over a length behind a long odds-on shot now rated 83.
A repeat of that effort will more than suffice in this weaker event. His latest second is one of a number of creditable efforts from runners from the Hills’ yard at the northern course, with four of his last seven starters at the track scoring. The jockey rode three winners from five rides for the stable last year and he stands a great chance of seeing victory with the colt today.