4.45 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f
Despite being an eight year old, judged on last seasons form, Indian Chief looks one who could still run a bit better than his current mark suggests. a handicap rating of 84, based on RPR’s and TS, as well as visuals from the back end of last year, seem a good indicator that he’s a really interesting runner in this race.
I wouldn’t read too much into his poor comeback run. It was a pipe opener. However, his last good handful of runs in 2017 are predominantly fine form. I felt he was minded when last seen as he had too much too from the back in a tough class 3 Handicap at Nottingham at the end of October.
A week earlier same place Indian Chief was tanking a long but incredibly unlucky, not getting a run whatsoever. He’s on the same mark today, and a return to that sort of form will see him go very close.
Trip and ground hold absolutely no fear to him – in fact it enhances his chances.
10pts win – Indian Chief @ 12/1 Matchbook
4.50 Naas: Irish Lincoln Handicap, 1 mile
A massive field of twenty runners go to post in the traditional pipe opener of the Irish flat season. Heavy ground is awaiting them – it should be a slog.
Plenty of right boxes ticks Richard Fahey’s runner Third Time Lucky. He’s proved in the past that cut in the ground isn’t an issue, though, he hasn’t encountered this deep a ground since his maiden win.
However, Third Time Lucky is an experienced big-field handicapper and tends to run well in these type of races – as evidence his 2015 Cambridgeshire success which came off the same he’s racing of today.
He hasn’t won since February last year, which came on the All-Weather, off a 2lb higher mark, but subsequently raced in tough handicaps off big weights. He’s in good nick, however, as he shown most recently at Wolverhampton when finishing strongly in a hot class 2 contest.
I feel this trip with the slow ground and likely good pace could play right into his hands. He will need to get a bit of in-running luck given his hold-up style and a less than ideal draw. But with no obvious choices in this race, he looks one who has a better chance than his price tag suggests, in my mind.
10pts win – Third Time Lucky @ 9/1 VC