Back in the winner’s circle after two rotten days: Slunovrat (3/1) went on to win at Nottingham in a thriller.
4.30 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 6f
Top weight Dandy Highwayman looks potentially overpriced dropping into a slightly easier race than when 10th at Ripon recently. That day he didn’t have things to go for himself with a wall of horses in front of him either.
However, Dandy Highwayman showed last season that he is capable to run to forms warranting his current rating off 82. He’s 2lb higher than his last winning mark but was really consistent last season where most of his races that he ran well in worked out quite well also.
The soft ground is a slight question mark – he has form with cut in the ground, so might be okay, though, ground as deep as today he only encountered once, which was the race a fortnight ago at Ripon.
A wider than ideal draw will make things not easy today. There is no doubt that a career best is required to win. Nonetheless, given he is capable to run to this sort of level, was consistent last year and is in a grade he can win in, I feel he is quite a massive price.
10pts win – Dandy Highwayman @ 25/1 VC / ***Non-Runner***
6.45 Newcastle: Class 7 Handicap, 1 mile
As poor a race as you would expect for this lowest of classes which looks. Nonetheless Optima Petamus should have a cracking chance dropping down to a mile.
The six year old has, despite an overall poor strike rate, a pretty fair record on the All-Weather, and has been running to time speed ratings in the past suggesting anything close to those past forms will see him being hard to beat.
Optima Petamus has shown good form in the last couple of weeks. Most importantly on his most recent outing, when third at Newcastle over 10f. He was keen early on and was up with the pace, looked like winning but got tiered as the eventual winner stayed on from far back in the field.
Rhe drop to a mile should help now. A better pace should ensure he settles better and the fact remains Optima Petamus’ only win came over the mile distance. With a competent 7lb claimer in the saddle this looks a golden opportunity for Optima Petamus.
10pts win – Optima Petamus @ 9/2 VC
4.10 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 5f
Competitive race, both favourite Bosham and Jorvik Prince, who was a bit unlucky not complete a four-timer at Lingfield last time out, should go really close. Question is, given they have a lot of mileage on the clock, how much more improvement can they eke out?
Lightly raced Jack The Truth is the intriguing contender in this field I am keen on. He hasn’t ran a single bad race in five starts; despite the main body of form coming at Southwell, he also proved to be capable on other AW surfaces.
He already won twice at Southwell this winter; his 5f success on handicap debut was an impressive performance, he followed up subsequently with an even better effort when third in a 6f class 4 Handicap. From a wide draw he came across and was up there with a hot pace.
As the only one from the front trio, he kept going in the closing stages to finish third eventually, whereas winner and second came from the back off the field to stay on. This already works out a good piece of form.
Jack The Truth remains on the same handicap mark, a 73 rating he matched on TS figure on his penultimate run. Dropping back to the minimum trip and down to a class 5 contest, he should be ready for a big performance from a fair draw.
10pts win – Jack The Truth @ 9/2 VC