12.50 Lingfield: Class 6 Apprentice Handicap, 1m 6f
Favourite Wanaasah won under an enterprising ride in sensational style recently here at Wolverhampton over a few furlongs longer. She should go well again, albeit, under a 5lb penalty and with most likely not given an uncontested lead things will be more difficult.
I am interested in Mark Johnston’s Grenadier Guard. Clearly a talented individual; clearly one with quirks who’s gone wrong at the same time.
He is tried in a visor for the first time today. I am not pinning solely my hope on that piece of headgear, but it may well help the gelding to focus better. I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt that he needed his last two runs after a break potentially; certainly a first start at Southwell is always something to forgive.
He drops down to a mile and six furlongs, which looks a more suitable trip. At the same time Grenadier Guard continues to fall in the mark. He showed promise last summer on turf when running to some good level of form, winning at Haydock and following up with a fine 2nd in a competitive Novices race.
That day he also ran to a 85 topspeed rating which looks believable. Hence there is a bit of talent that is better than a January class 5 Handicap at Wolverhampton. I take the risk and give Grenadier Guard another chance to live somewhat up to last summers promise.
10pts win – Grenadier Guard @ 10.5/1 MB
4.10 Catterick: Class 4 Handicap, 2 miles
A wide open long distance handicap that could go the way of featherweight Kittileo. Only eight stone to carry, the sole three year old in the race has a massive chance to win on what is his fifth career start – if he stays the trip and acts on the fast ground.
He showed promise on occasions, but I feel the Mark Johnston runner might come over these marathon trips into his own. His pedigree gives him any chance to improve and Galileo’s have a tremendous record here at Catterick over this sort of trip.
Receiving weight all around, Kittileo has the added advantage of a good draw, which even over longer trips, can make a difference here at Catterick. Given, he has shown to be enjoy the lead in his runs same tactics will surely be employed here as well at a course where those up with the pace have always a big advantage.
10pts win – Kittileo @ 13/2 GB
Godolphin is red hot on the All-Weather and for that simple reason you have to respect the favourite Hollie Point who finally got off the mark on the ninth attempt over course and distance when fitted with blinkers for the first time a fortnight ago. An opening mark of 80 looks fair and she may well has more to offer, but for all of that, she hasn’t beaten much the last time and looks a very short price.
Dark War looks a solid enough gelding and has fair form to offer, though more is required here and there might not be too much more to come. Jaganory doesn’t look good enough to land this, while Caltra Colleen is an interesting filly with potential, but she has been off the track for a very long time and the drift in the market is a worry.
Mark Johnston has his string in excellent form lately and does particularly well with three year olds. That gives confidence in the chance of Enlace, who has her first start this season. She die very well in the early days of her career when she followed up on her fine debut win with a strong runner-up effort in a hot Newmarket Nursery. She was unable to confirm that form subsequently, but a break may have done her well and on pedigree it looks likely that she can progress with age as well as the step up to 7f should suit. As a Shamardal daughter she should take well to the All-Weather.
In my eyes Enlace is the value against the favourite in this field where on merit it should be between the first two in the market. Money is floating in for the Johnston filly and 11/4 looks a very good price here.
8.15 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f
Enlace @ 11/4 William Hill – 10pts win