Our resident tipster is putting his trust in a couple of course specialists.
Not all horses take to the sharp, undulating circuit at Catterick and horses that have run well there previously are worthy of close consideration on their return.
Ian Williams’ CONRY is a good case in point and he looks to have been laid out for this evening’s 7f handicap (7.30pm), a race he won 12 months ago. The nine-year-old is a real course specialist as he has now won six times here and has never run a bad race here. He’s been largely out of form since winning at Wolverhampton in September, but he signalled that he was coming back to his best when third on the Polytrack at Chelmsford last time. Given that was only his second run since December, he was entitled to need it and should be cherry ripe.
He’s rated 6lb higher on turf than on an artificial surface, but thanks to that barren spell he can line up today off a 13lb lower mark than when successful last year. That would count for little if ground conditions weren’t right as he’s a different horse when the is plenty of cut, and connections will therefore have been rubbing their hands at the sight of the recent rain, which has turned the going “soft” – five of his wins here have come when the word “soft” appeared in the going description. Stevie Donohoe, who has steered him to the last four of those wins, is back on board.
Sticking with the “horses for courses” formula could also pay dividends in the 5f handicap run at the end of the meeting (8.30pm). The Paul Green-trained RUSTY ROCKET has twice won around here (albeit over 7f) and he too looks to be on a good mark after a spell in the wilderness. The six-year-old was racing off 85 when chasing home the now 104-rated Aetna over this trip at Newcastle last April, yet lines up this evening off a 10lb lower mark. The rain has come at the right time for him too – his last six wins have come on easy ground – and just for good measure his stable is in good form, with the trainer’s four runners finishing 1182.