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The 5f Compare Horse Racing At bookies.com Ladies Riders’ Handicap (due off 6.45pm) has drawn the biggest field with 17 set to go to post, and it’s fair to say that most are hard to win with. There’s only one last-time-out winner amongst them, the Tim Easterby-trained filly Penny Royale, and the fact she was lady ridden when getting home by half a length over this trip at Thirsk has to be seen as a positive – amateur Emily Easterby takes over from 5lb claimer Hannah Worrall here. However, given her career record of 2-24 she’s far from certain to back that up in what is a more competitive race and, besides, might struggle to confirm form with the runner-up TINSILL.
Nigel Tinkler’s charge is slightly worse off at the weights this evening (when taking jockey claims into account), but he will benefit from professional handling, with Shelley Birkett coming in for the ride, and this stiffer 5f on slower ground could be just what he needs to get his head in front. He’s now hit the crossbar on his last three starts, finishing strongly on each occasion, and all three have come at much sharper tracks than this and on quicker ground, which makes it harder for him to play catch up. While he was beaten four and a half lengths in last year’s race, he was rated 6lb higher then and also met with trouble in running, so a much better showing is expected.
Recent winning form is thin on the ground in the Get The Best Free Bets At bookies.com Ladies Riders’ Handicap (7.15pm) over 6f and arguably the form horse, the maiden Courier, has now finished second nine times in her 2-3 race career, including at Thirsk last time when sent off 2/1 favourite. She’ll no doubt find a little race at some stage and this won’t take a great deal of winning, but I’m still inclined to look elsewhere for some value.
The consistent Honeysuckle Lil should again run her race and may appreciate the drop back to a stiff 6f having just come up short over 7f on previous starts. She is preferred to stablemate Kenny The Captain, who has done off the boil since winning over course and distance in May, and Consistant, who was disappointing at Leicester last time.
But a tentative vote goes to the Karen Tutty-trained PERCY’S GAL in the hope the conditions stay on the soft side of good – it’s currently ‘good to soft’ with showers forecast. She has won twice over track and trip off much higher marks than today’s and wasn’t beaten that far at Thirsk last time (good to firm), when doing all her best work late on. A stiff 6f and a bit of juice in the ground is just what she needs and her small stable has been amongst the winners of late. The trainer’s daughter Gemma will get the leg up and she can boast an eye-catching 18% (7-39) strike rate at this track over the past five seasons.
Fillydelphia is the only last-time-out winner in the field for the Compare Bookies At bookies.com Ladies Riders’ Handicap (8.15pm), having edged out Sherman McCoy by a neck at Catterick earlier this month. However, he may struggle to back that up on this stiffer track and the runner-up is entitled to reverse the form on today’s terms. This is a step up in grade for both, though, and others make more appeal.
Top weight Obboorr wouldn’t be winning out of turn having finished second on his last three starts, the latest off today’s mark over 1m2f on fast ground at Pontefract. This greater emphasis on stamina should see him better that performance and he looks certain to be involved.
He’s 4/1 favourite, though, and I’d rather take a punt on John Mackie’s CAPTAIN SWIFT at a double-figure price. The five-year-old has gradually been finding his form this season, finishing a respectable fourth at Doncaster last time, and he looks nicely treated on a mark of 66, which is 1lb lower than his last winning one. He should have the cut in the ground he needs and will get every assistance from the saddle with Shelley Birkett booked. Just for good measure, his in-form stable is 1-3 here since 2012.
All odds were correct at time of posting.