PENNY POT LANE had no chance from her high draw at Nottingham last time, finishing ninth of the 14 runners. Tricky Dicky and Poet’s Pride, who followed her home down the stands’ side, finished first and fourth when they met again at Thirsk next time and the 12th, Decision Maker, won at Newcastle last night. I’m not thrilled with her draw in stall nine of nine when she returns to Nottingham for the racingtv.com fillies’ Handicap (12.30) but she’s still worth a small interest.
TOUGH REMEDY found the step up to 1m2f against him when well held at York last month and will be happier back on the all-weather at Newcastle in the 1m Megan O'Brien's 30th Birthday Handicap on Tuesday night (7.20). His record on Tapeta reads 113142 (3-6), with the latest defeat easily excused as he found only Roger Varian’s progressive Bowerman, one of the antepost favourites for the Royal Hunt Cup, too good.
At Brighton, I like the look of NORMAL EQUILIBRIUM in the opening Eagles Soaring High Handicap (2.00). He very much caught the eye when a 50-1 third of 17 at Doncaster last time, doing best of those to race up with the pace in a race run to suit the closers. Kenny The Captain, well back in 11th after also chasing the strong early pace, placed at 10-1 next time to give the form a minor boost. All his wins have come in fields of 11 or fewer runners, the majority of them around a turn, and he should be suited by the track.
Arcano offspring tend to improve with age and had we backed the sire’s four-year-old representatives, on the Flat and after a recent outing (within three weeks) we would have won 55 of our 321 bets (17.1% strike-rate) and made a profit of £113.68 to a £1 level stake at SP (+£292.14 at Betfair SP).
Andrew Mount provides his analysis and best bets for day one of Epsom’s Derby meeting
BEVERLEY BULLET could only finish eighth of 12 at Pontefract on his return to turf last month but the good to firm going was far too quick for him and he’ll be much happier in the Dr Eddie Moll Handicap at Beverley (3.40) on Wednesday where the ground is described as ‘good to soft (watered)’! The six-year-old is back down to his last winning mark and his record on officially good to soft or softer going reads 131146772156104 (5-15), improving to 111467104 (4-9) on soft or heavy only.
SHOW PALACE (stall one of 13) has a fantastic record on soft and heavy turf but he handled Fibresand well enough when fourth in a 5f handicap at Southwell on his reappearance this term and the Jennie Candlish-trained six-year-old can take advantage of his favourable mark over the same trip and track in the MansionBet Handicap on Tuesday (7.10).
HART STOPPER tends to struggle on undulating tracks, recording form figures of 2058720340 (0-10). On flat tracks such as Haydock, Windsor and Yarmouth his 6f figures on turf are impressive – 111411 (5-6), with the defeat excusable as he missed the break when 10-1 at Thirsk. He seems to cope with any ground conditions and can be backed in the 6f GEMS Handicap at Windsor on Monday (1.55).
The Roger Varian-trained QABALA impressed in landing the Nell Gwyn Stakes from off the pace last month and her subsequent 1000 Guineas third can be upgraded as she fared best of those who were ridden patiently. The winner (‘made all’) and second (‘tracked winner)’ sat one-two throughout whereas she was described was ‘held up in rear of midfield’. She looks the bet in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday (4.25).
CROSSING THE LINE (stall one of 11) is perfectly drawn in the 7.5f MBNA Handicap at Chester on Saturday and the likely strong pace will play to her strengths. More importantly, she runs extremely well when fresh and has been given a short break since her Lingfield fifth on Good Friday. She was taking her races better last year but a rest of at least five weeks seems ideal, her record under these conditions being 12111 (4-5), with the defeat by a head.
RAGSTONE VIEW was up against a strong draw bias at Lingfield last time, doing well to finish a three-quarters of a length second after challenging wide from stall two of nine. He failed to settle in the very early stages as he tried to get cover and may have been an unlucky loser. He can gain compensation in the Steel Horse Made Dash Handicap at Chepstow (1.50).
At the last Thirsk meeting the stands’ side bias returned in the sprint races, favouring those drawn high. BURMESE BLAZER was sent off as the 9-2 favourite for a 5f handicap but was drawn on the wrong side, finishing sixth from stall six behind runners drawn 16, 14, 15, 18 and 17. He returns to Thirsk for the Celebrating The Life Of Sandra Rowcroft Handicap today (2.45) and looks much better berthed in stall 17.
Stalls 1, 2 and 3 have a combined record of 0-96 in 7f York handicaps of 12+ runners since the start of 2014 and it could pay to side with those drawn middle to high in the British EBF Frank Whittle Partnership Fillies’ Handicap on the final day of York’s May meeting (4.05).
There’s pace all over the track in the 5f Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap that opens Thursday’s York card (1.50) and COPPER KNIGHT (stall 11 of 22) should enjoy getting a tow into the race after finishing second from the front at Chester last week. He probably did too much too soon that day in an attempt to make the most of his favourable low draw and that run, his second of the season, might still have been needed. His record on his third start each season reads 111 (3-3), including victory in an 18-runner course and distance handicap two years ago.