The first selection comes from flat HQ where to my eyes Lyrical looks the one to beat and at 7/1 I couldn’t put people off entirely however I’m hoping I’ve found a slight angle in the form of the Ruth Carr trained MUTAMADED. The seven year old has been pretty woeful in 2020 but as a result now sits at 6lbs below his last winning mark. I’m not convinced the ground will suit although he has been victorious on soft before but the most eye-catching thing is that northern based trainer Ruth Carr sends just the one horse all this way down to Newmarket. There’s been a handful of non-runners now which obviously aids our chances and with there still three places on offer I’m happy to take a punt on a horse who’s currently priced at around 25/1.
A horse I’ve followed this season and my pocket hasn’t thanked me for it, is STRONG STEPS. Although I may be a fool for doing the same the fact he’s now upped to a mile, has William Buick booked for the ride, has been backed down from 7/1 and sits on a mouth watering mark is enough to ensure I don’t abandon him this time around.
The rest of the field looks relatively poor but Bawaader, Captain Corelli and Khazaf look the best of the rest.
I know this race looks ridiculous to call with a case to be made for most of the fourteen runners but perhaps in my infinite stupidity ROYAL BRAVE catches the eye. I understand the former course and distance winner won just two starts back at Catterick but he only went up 2lbs for that success and still remains well below her last all-weather winning mark. The biggest factor for me is that jockey Danny Tudhope returns for the ride having not been aboard for the nine year olds last 14 outings. Tudhope has a great record with the horse claiming 8 top three finishes from 10 rides. Although it’s a ridiculously open contest I’ll take a chance on the oldest horse in the race to roll back the years.
An ultra-competitive one mile handicap awaits with the likes of Khafaaq and War Hero vying for favouritism. Both have serious claims but I’d rather look for a bit of value elsewhere and I hope I’ve found that in the form of KATIYMANN. A veteran in this lineup but shouldn’t be discounted so readily despite a poor performance here last time. That run came over seven furlongs but now back up to a mile his chances vastly improve. Over tonights course and distance he has form that reads; 2nd, 8th, 2nd, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Only once in six starts did he finish out of the top three and all came with at least 5lbs more weight on his back than he has to carry here. Yes it’s a tough race to call but at a generous price I’m happy to plump for the Halford trained runner.
My final selection of the day sees me side with a horse who’s yet to win on an artificial surface but did show enough in one run here to indicate she’s capable. Trainer Tracey Collins may not have sent out a winner recent but she did claim a very close second here at Dundalk just two nights ago and I’m a massive fan of her runners at this course. She sends out four year old INDEPENDENT MISSY who went well to finish fourth over course and distance earlier in the year and returning back to this track with less weight on her back this time around should see her go close. The slight negative however is the wide draw so approach with caution but if she can overcome that obstacle she should be in the mix.
INDEPENDENT MISSY written by Rory Paddock