The opening Sky Bet Sunday Series fixture takes place on Sunday afternoon with Hamilton playing host to an ultra-competitive seven-race card. Our expert editor has delved into the entires and highlighted three runners who have caught their eye this weekend at the Scottish venue. Check out their thought below, alongside Sky Bet’s fantastic new customer offer of Bet £5 Get 20 In Free Bets.
Nordhalla – 16:18 (Sky Bet Sunday Series Fillies’ Handicap, 1m 1f 35y)
The recent switch to handicap company has seen NORDHALLA win her last two starts for trainer Mark Johnston and connections will be confident the filly can land the hat-trick on Sunday and continue her impressive start to the season.
Winless in three starts as a juvenile last season, Nordhalla was allocated an opening mark of 68 as she returned for her three-year-old campaign. Seemingly unfancied to get off the mark when sent to Southwell at the start of April, Mark Johnston’s charge displayed a willing attitude in the one-mile handicap contest. Relinquishing the lead inside the final furlong, Nordhalla rallied gamely under jockey Franny Norton to get up in the shadows of the post and deny race favourite Pangloss.
Up 2lb for her narrow all-weather victory, the chestnut filly soon made it two from two in handicap company with another smart performance when switched to the turf at Chepstow. Pressing the leader with two furlongs to go, Nordhalla quickly asserted on the run to the line and although the official winning margin was just a neck, she was certainly value for more on that occasion and was comfortably on top in the closing stages.
A further 3lb rise in the weights shouldn’t prevent another bold showing from Mark Johnston’s progressive handicapper and with the slight step up in trip promising to suit, Nordhalla can land the hat-trick and continue her rise through the ranks.
King Triton – 16:48 (Sky Bet Sunday Series Handicap, 1m 68y)
North Yorkshire handler Grant Tuer was the leading trainer in the inaugural Sunday Series last season and will be confident of hitting the ground running in this year’s event with KING TRITON.
Formerly with Newmarket trainer Roger Varian, King Triton remains lightly raced and has had just three starts for current connections. Pitched into a valuable Class 2 handicap at York’s Ebor Festival on stable debut, King Triton ran an eye-catching race over the mile trip, crossing the winning post with plenty of running left after staying on noticeably well in the closing stages to snatch third place.
Unable to confirm the promise he had shown on the Knavesmire when rounding off his three-year-old campaign at Thirsk, Gran Tuer’s charge made his seasonal reappearance at Ripon last month. Racing prominently throughout, King Triton ultimately weakened out of contention inside the final furlong, however, despite shaping in need of the run following a 231-day break, the four-year-old still ran an encouraging race to finish third and wasn’t beaten far behind the three-time course and distance winner Hortzadar.
King Triton should strip fitter following that recent return to action and with his sights slightly lowered on Sunday, Grant Tuer’s unexposed four-year-old will be fancied to return to winning ways and he remains one to keep a close eye on as the season unfolds.
Huddle Up – 17:18 (Sky Bet Sunday Series Sprint Handicap, 5f 7y)
Recent winners Ava Go Joe and Rayong are respected after impressive victories last time out, however, the one that catches the eye here is certainly HUDDLE UP who was a dual winner when trained in Ireland by Willie McCreery and has subsequently been transferred over the Irish Sea and joined David Barron.
Rated 83, the four-year-old raced eight times when trained in Ireland and whilst he returned to the winner’s enclosure over the minimum trip on his most recent outing, the majority of his form has come over six and seven furlongs. Highly tried as a juvenile, he was a winner of a six-furlong Cork maiden on just his second career start and rounded off his two-year-old campaign with a creditable fourth in a Class 1 Nursery Handicap at Naas over a furlong further.
Only seen on the track three times last season, Huddle Up went down as an eye-catcher on the second of those starts when running on well from off the pace at Navan over six furlongs. Eager to strike while the iron was still hot, connections entered him just three days later at Navan over the minimum trip and despite the extremely short turnaround, Huddle Up justified strong market support to prevail by a short head at the line.
A strongly run five-furlong contest on a stiff track should really play to the strengths of Huddle Up and with the yard ticking over nicely in recent weeks (4-14 – 28.57%) it wouldn’t be a surprise to see David Barron’s recent recruit go close on Sunday afternoon and he is certainly worth supporting on his first start on British soil.
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