The first race today is a ten-furlong Handicap at Ayr where Adrian Keatley’s Nice Vintage is at the top of the market and when he brings runners across you take note.
This four-year-old was a smooth winner here in April and the handicapper looks to have been quite lenient by putting him up only 6lb for a win that suggests there could be more to come. The trainer has a 33% strike rate here at the Scottish venue and Kieren Fallon takes over in the saddle.
Grand Canyon has only had four starts and this is the first time he’ll encounter fast conditions. He had his first run for David O’Meara last time when fifth of nine at Hamilton after his switch from Ralph Beckett meaning he’ll be fitter for this. He hinted at ability in his maidens however this trip did seem to stretch him, so it’ll be fascinating to see how the Upper Helmsley handler has improved his stamina.
Alistair Whillans Love Marmalade is one down the market that is of interest. This six-year-old drops back in trip after urns over twelve and sixteen furlongs respectively. The blinkers have been reached for too, so the ploy could be to get him out in front and say to the rest catch me if you can. He hasn’t won since May 2014 he now looks feasibly treated to strike once more.
Nice Vintage (WIN)
Time for some summer jumping from Warwick where Ink Master has been well backed since the market opened to suggest defeat is out of the question.
The Philip Hobbs charge carries a 7lb penalty for his facile success at Ludlow just ten-days ago. There does look more to come from him however he’ll try to get out in front and make all but he won’t have it all his own way with Owen Na View in the field.
Fergal O’Brien’s charge is one that likes to front run himself meaning they could light each other up and go off to fast. This eight-year-old son of Presenting was a winner at Perth when probably value for more than the winning distance is. Just a 4lb rise sees him enter the reckoning.
With those front-runners in the field they could set it up for a closer and that is likely to be Festive Affair. The handicapper has put him up 4lb for that and he looks to be competitive again now getting the confidence back following that win. Joshua Moore takes over in the saddle.
Festive Affair (WIN)
The final race at the Irish all-weather track is for a two-mile Handicap where there are plenty that can be given a chance.
Danequest was second over twelve-furlongs just five days ago here where he was staying on and the step back up to this trip could help him get his head back in front – something he did last month when winning over this trip. He could have more to offer off this mark in this sort of company.
David Broad’s Little Stampy completed a Dunstall Park hat-trick between December and February winning over trips from twelve-furlongs and this trip. The five-year-old didn’t handle the heavy conditions at Pontefract, so that run can be forgiven whilst her last effort was over hurdles when running with credit. This surface should hold no fears and with Killian Leonard taking off a worthy seven-pounds could prove the value in this open contest.
My Manekineko heads the market with Pat Smullen in the saddle however this son of Authorized is 0-17 on the all-weather, which is slightly off putting. He did handle the track when a close second here in February and the extra trip should help. Ibsen is interesting for Gordon Elliot returning to the track for the first time in over 200-days.
Little Stampy (E/W)