Mambo Spirit absolutely loves it around here and has recorded three of his fourteen career wins over this course and distance. He loves to hear his hooves rattle so it is of upmost importance that the track is on the faster side of good which looks likely. Rhiain Ingram takes the reins for the first time today and she is an up and coming apprentice who has already partnered three winners this year. Her three pound allowance could well come into play particularly in a race of this nature and they cannot be readily discounted.
Babyfact produced a career best effort when scoring over this course and distance last time out. She has only had a handful of runs but seems to be one of the lest exposed in the line up. Georgia Cox is in the saddle this afternoon and she too can claim a useful three pounds. Given that her partner also receives a fillies allowance, they look the most obvious of dangers. Mick Channon’s team have started to hit a bit of form again and Deeds Not Words bounced back when winning at Chepstow earlier in the month. A slight rise in the weights ought not to make that much difference to him, however he often fails to hold his form for long and he has an each way chance yet again.
Mambo Spirit knows every blade of grass on this track and if ridden with a bit more positivity this afternoon, he should be there or thereabouts. He is in the veteran stages of his career now but he has proven he is still capable of mixing it with the younger generations despite being an eleven year old and he can make the frame.
Mambo Spirit (E/W if 9/2+)
15:00 Newton Abbot
Sykes made an encouraging start to his career when fourth at this track on what was his first outing for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson. He clearly benefitted from the outing as a step up in trip and a bit of better ground brought about immense improvement when he saw off his rivals by no fewer than seven lengths at Worcester next time out. This looks to be an ideal opportunity for him to get back on track and given that he is proven over slightly further, stamina is unlikely to be an issue.
Chantara Rose looked useful when runner up in a few bumpers last season. She then progressed to mares only hurdles and again ran with credit without managing to get her head in front. If the heavens were to open her chances would certainly increase being by Kayf Tara. This is her handicap debut and with plenty of experience under her belt she looks the biggest danger. Taylor comes from a top yard and heads the weights coming into this race. He will be a lot sharper today having made his seasonal reappearance earlier in the month and he too commands respect.
Sykes is open to plenty of further improvement given that he is so lightly raced. The ground certainly seems to be in his favour and the stable can get them ready at the first time of asking. Richard Johnson is once again in the saddle and the duo should be capable of going very close here.
15:30 Newton Abbot
Lilac Tree returned to winning ways at Stratford last time out when seeing off the attentions of Desert Recluse. The front two pulled some ten lengths clear of the once highly touted Royal Irish Hussar indicating that the form would turn out to be quite useful. Despite a rise in the weights here, the yard are in excellent form and having won races at up to a mile and a half on the flat for Mark Johnston, he ought to stay a good bit further in time,
Kapstadt turned out to be a useful recruit to this sphere when also winning over this course and distance last season. Prior to that he was a convincing winner at Newcastle over the same trip. He has been given a few spins on the flat already this season ans the best of those efforts came when third to Imshivalla at Goodwood last time. With a return to hurdling expected to suit, he is likely to pose the biggest threat to the selection. Of the remainder, Belize has improved with each start over hurdles and he wouldn’t have to be a world beater in order to get into the places today.
Lilac Tree was a fair middle distance performer on the flat and John Ferguson has teased further improvement from him subsequently. A repeat of his latest run should be good enough to see off the opposition today before he is aimed at higher targets later in the year.
Lilac Tree (WIN)