Our resident tipster has run the rule over Ripon's Saturday feature, the Great St Wilfrid Handicap, as well as the consolation race.
Ripon stages it’s biggest day of the year in Saturday with the William Hill-sponsored Great St Wilfrid Handicap the feature.
The 6f race (due off 3.30pm) has attracted it’s usual big field, with 20 set to go to post, and for the winner I’m looking no further than Richard Fahey’s DONT TOUCH, who is unbeaten after three starts. After a runaway success at Newcastle on his debut, he showed he could battle with a last-stride success at Haydock in May and brought up the hat-trick with a cosy success against older and more experienced rivals on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last time.
A further 5lb rise in the weights takes him to a mark of 96, but I’d be surprised if that was the ceiling of his ability and he ought to be able to land a big handicap like this one, before stepping up to Listed level. His trainer knows a good sprinter when he sees one and won this race in 2013 with a similarly progressive type in Baccarat, who landed a gamble as 9/2 favourite. I’d therefore advise anyone to get on early and take the current 8/1 on offer.
All his rivals are relatively exposed and none of those with previous course experience – a big influence normally – have eye-catching profiles. The best of these may be Spinatrix, who has won over course and distance four times no less, but a bigger danger may be Mick Channon’s Shore Step. He ran well to chase home easy winner Tanzeel at York two starts back before finishing a highly respectable fourth to Golden Steps in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race. He needs everything to drop right but should make the frame at least.
David O’Meara has won this race three times in the last four years and his sole representative this time, Eccleston, therefore has to be considered. He has not really gone on since winning at Haydock in May, however, and the trainer’s best chance of success may lie in the consolation race run half an hour earlier, with his FLYMAN a strong fancy to follow-up his win over track and trip of 12 days ago. The five-year-old is just 2lb higher here and looks the type to keep progressing now he’s got his head in front. He likes cut in the ground so the rain has come at the right time.
Ripon 3.00, Flyman @ best morning-line odds
Ripon 3.30, Don’t Touch @ 8/1 Coral