First selection today comes in the apprentice handicap at Windsor. A field comprising mostly of well tried handicappers with a sprinkling of lightly raced types, fresh from unsuccessful tilts at maidens.
The majority of the leading contenders seem to be horses weighted to their best and beyond. Hardy Black requires a career best performance to defy a penalty for his latest win last Tuesday. Wahaab is not receiving much change from the handicapper for recent solid efforts and his winless streak stretches back to his debut 17 starts ago, whilst Blistering Dancer has failed to find the winner’s enclosure the last 3 times from this very mark.
This leads me to my selection – Essaka. Two solid performances last month indicate a return to form for the gelding and a slight improvement on his last run should be enough to take this. A capable apprentice in the form of Georgia Cox is in the saddle and a big run should be in the offing.
Of the lightly raced trio, an interesting alternative can be found in the form of Hellfire. A fractious sort in her first 2 outings, she has shown glimmers of ability in her maiden efforts and is closely related to a course and distance winner – who also scored on his fourth career start here.
The next race at Windsor see’s my second selection.
Clive Cox’s Tis Marvellous seems sure to be heavily backed to build on a solid second to Mutawatheb on debut. He was not granted the clearest of passages that day and looks certain to be on the premises here.
However, I think there may be a spot of value about Andrew Balding’s charge, Mucho Applause. This is another colt who posted an encouraging debut – running green as grass for much of the 6 furlongs at Newmarket before finishing off strongly as the penny finally dropped. Balding has done well with his juveniles this season and I expect Mucho Applause to have come on a tonne for that experience.
Of the unraced, Silent Assassin looks the most intriguing. This son of Sharmadal changed hands for 30,000 guineas as a yearling before his stock shot up markedly as a 2 year old and he was sold on for 270,000 Euros. Its obvious a good career is expected.
Mucho Applause (WIN)
My final selection today comes in this competitive 6 runner handicap that looks to be of a fair standard. A few unexposed horses take their place here and some sort of case can be made for all of them.
Mytimehascome looks set for favouritism. This Montjeu filly has shown a good level of ability in all 3 maidens she has competed in thus far and with Varian now reaching for the hood, a step up on those creditable efforts seems certain. However, my vote goes to Batts Rock, a freshly trimmed gelding from the in-form Michael Bell yard. Batts Rock has displayed promise in all 3 career outings, particularly when blowing away an admittedly average looking field at Wolverhampton. The effortless manner of that victory sticks in the memory and I don’t think we have seen the limits of this lads ability. A drop of 1lb from his opening handicap mark, where he performed with some credit, is a bonus and I expect a big run here.
Batts Rock (WIN)