PADDOCKS PATENT (MONDAY)

15:30 Leicester An ultra competitive 5f sprint attracting no fewer than 16 entries. William Muir’s Stepper Point catches my eye here. This formerly very smart sprinter (successful at Group 2 level in Ireland only last year) has tumbled down the weights recently. The seven year old is now rated a lowly 90. Whilst of course there is a valid reason behind this spiral in the ratings – a placeless streak stretching back some 13 starts – his shrewd trainer Muir is convinced the gelding retains enough ability to take advantage and claim a good handicap pot before the season is out. In fact, connections were hopeful of a bold show last time out at Haydock in a more competitive event. Things fell flat that afternoon as Stepper Point completely missed the break. Barring any mishaps exiting the stalls this time, I expect Stepper Point to outrun his current odds of 20/1 and provide us with some each way value – particularly if the going remains on the quicker side of good. Stepper Point (E/W)

16:40 Kempton Another competitive sprint, this time over 6f. Jamie Osborne’s Shamson is of interest here. The five year old gelding can be considered a touch unfortunate in two of his last three starts – each time being checked when finishing strongly. Nevertheless, these runs have proven his wellbeing and also dropped him a handy couple of pounds in the handicap. There is no doubt that his running style leaves something to chance when needing the right breaks at the right times but there is no one more suited to this kind of ride than Jamie Spencer, who takes the reins today. Shamson has won on polytrack before, albeit at Chelmsford, so there is reason to believe he can handle the surface here. Current odds of 5/1 look fair and I believe the partnership of Osbourne and Spencer can further enhance their excellent strike rate when teaming up. Shamson (WIN)

17:30 Leicester I am taking a chance here and choosing to play in a hands and heels apprentice handicap. Usually I would give these kind of races a wide birth, however, For Shia and Lula looks primed for a good run and current odds of 8/1 have tempted me in. Daniel Loughnane’s seven year old gelding has hardly been prolific of late, with his last win coming in April last year, however his latest performance at Chelmsford has served notice that a current mark of 59 is very much a winnable one. Under a positive ride, For Shia and Lula finished a credible second that day in a race that has thrown up a subsequent winner and a narrowly beaten second – fairly useful form when considering the lowly nature of class we are dealing with here. The forecasted quicker conditions should play to the horses’ strengths, with his two career wins on turf coming on firm and good to firm ground. Races like this require a leap of faith but this horse will not come across many better opportunities to add to his career earnings. For Shia and Lula (E/W)