5.00 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 8.5f
Compelling race for such a low grade: Baashiq and Admodum are high on my list, and the betting reflects it. But the lightly raced – on turf at least – Duchess Of Avon is an even more intriguing candidate.
He’s had only three starts on turf to date, of those he was close runner-up last season, achieving a career best effort with a neck beaten effort of a mark of 65 and running to a topspeed of 66. He probably needed his comeback run at Brighton in May after a 3 months long break, when he looked dangerous until fading in the final furlong.
He appeared in much better shape last time out at Brighton again, over a mile, winning a shade cozily, taking advantage of a career lowest handicap rating. That form looks rock solid.
With that in mind, the 4lb hike in the mark and slightly better race today may not stop Duchess Of Avon to be highly competitive once more, given he may still have a bit more to offer on this surface. Any rain wouldn’t be an issue judged on pedigree.
10pts win – Duchess Of Avon @ 6/1 MB
9.05 Pontefract: Class 5 Handicap, 6f
His latest run is a little bit concerning, of a lowered mark I am hopeful that Mr Orange can regain some of his last seasons form, back here at Pontefract with favoured conditions in a race he has already won twice in the past.
It’s this CD that brings the best out of Mr Orange – he has won of a career highest 78 handicap mark in class 3 last July, so now down to 72, a mark he has also won off last year, he could be quite competitive.
To be fair, bar that latest poor performance, Mr Orange ran with plenty of credit in competitive sprints this season. Never too far away, he may simply need to get a little help from the handicapper and find an easier race. All of which seems to be the case today.
10pts win – Mr Orange @ 11/1 MB