Our resident tipster is hoping to start the week on a high with a couple of decent-priced fancies at Thirsk.
David O’Meara’s ability to improve horses sent to him from other yards is becoming the stuff of legend and ETERNITYS GATE could be latest to benefit from his training methods.
The four-year-old, formerly with Peter Chapple-Hyam, is having just his second start for the stable in this afternoon’s 5f handicap at Thirsk (5.10pm) and, while it’s the most competitive race of the day with 19 set to go to post, he must have a right chance, having advertised his current well-being with a neck second on his stable debut over 6f at Pontefract earlier this month.
I opposed him that day on account of the fact his best from is over 5f and, having attempted to make all, it was no great surprise to see him joined entering the final furlong and headed in the last 100 yards. The drop back to the minimum trip for this afternoon’s contest is therefore a big plus and with O’Meara having had a couple more weeks to work his magic, we could even see an improved performance.
The draw could be a factor and normally I’d want to be on a horse drawn middle to high in such a big field of writing the straight 5f here. However, any draw bias seems to disappear when the ground is riding soft, as the current forecast suggests it will. I’m therefore not too worried by the selection’s draw in stall four and, indeed, the far side (low numbers) may even be slightly faster in such conditions.
O’Meara has two shots at winning the mile handicap run earlier on the card (4.10pm) with Dubai Hills and Sophisticated Air his representatives. A good case can be made for both in a race that won’t take an awful lot of winning, but I just prefer the chances of joint top-weight OUR BOY JACK, who has been running creditably in better contests of late and looks well treated on a mark of 80.
He won off 2lb higher at Ayr last October on soft ground and is a previous course winner too, albeit back in 2013. His more recent efforts have indicated that his winning turn is near, with a fourth place at Chester two starts back behind a rapid improver in Racing History and an Epsom second on his penultimate outing being the highlights. Last time out he failed to get into a Class 3 over track and trip, having been denied a clear run a furlong out, and this is far easier. Furthermore, the highly talented Jack Garritty takes a handy 3lb off his back.
Sunday’s selection Swift Emperor won at Pontefract (5/1), while Don’t Touch (advised at 9/1) landed a gamble in Saturday’s Great St Wilfrid Handicap – hope you were on?!