3.45 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 6f
This looks a thoroughly uncompetitive affair, despite a field of 13 runners. That should give Phoenix Beach an excellent chance to get his first win on turf, after he got off the mark on sand last summer.
He was only seen one more time last year, over the same course and distance as his maiden victory. That’s where he caught my eye for the way he travelled through the race from the front, before he suddenly tired rapidly.
He travelled so supremely well there, in line with his impressive first career victory a few month earlier, that something must have been amiss for him to drop out so tamely.
Thankfully it turned out that he lost a shoe and was found lame afterwards, indeed.
He returned last month at Doncaster over 5 furlongs in desperate conditions. He didn’t travelled particularly well but stuck to the task well enough before getting tired in the final furlong. A rock solid comeback run.
You’d hope he can improve from there and as generally lightly raced individual it’s far from impossible that he can find more for natural improvement as well. Off a 72 mark he offers upside.
10pts win – Phoenix Beach @ 6/1
5.25 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 5f
I’m really excited to see Captain Corcoran returning so quickly after his latest Catterick run. I believe this lad is in super form and ready to strike.
He caught the eye on his seasonal reappearance last month, where after an awkward start he was held up in rear and finished seriously well under and easy hands and heels ride after not getting a clear run until late.
He was clearly ridden with intend not to show all of his cards there and appeared on a lovely mark next time at Catterick, but he faced an uphill battle from the #4 draw.
The jockey seemed to try too hard (by design?) to overcompensate for this significant disadvantage over that course and distance and used a lot of energy but also giving ground away moving all the way across to the stands’ side.
Captain Corcoran looked threatening for a brief moment over 2 furlongs out but eventually faded.
As a result he dropped another two pounds. Now down to 52 he appears pretty well-handicapped with soft conditions likely to suit. The more rain that falls and is excepted tomorrow, the better for his chances.
10pts win – Captain Corcoran @ 6/1