Our racing expert has three fancies for the Bank Holiday action at Ripon.
DAFFY JANE is taken to defy top weight in the 6f handicap against eight rivals. Nigel Tinkler’s three-year-old has already won three handicaps this season, including one over course and distance in July, and she might not have finished yet. Her most recent success at Nottingham has to go down as a personal best and while up a further 5lb for that, she’s clearly thriving. Her previous length defeat at York was another sterling effort and as that came on soft ground, there are no worries about her handling today’s conditions. That Silvestre De Sousa (who is 3-5 on her) is renewing the partnership helps seal the bet.
The Listed contest for two-year-olds has attracted a decent field and they include John Gosden’s Kessar, an easy winner of a Windsor novice last time, and Richard Hannon’s Neverland Rock, who looked nailed on to relish dropping back to 6f at Goodwood last time only to disappoint. That was probably down to him hating the undulating track and his jockey wasn’t hard on him from the furlong marker, so a better run can be expected.
However, I prefer the chances of Karl Burke’s LIFE OF RILEY as he’s the only course winner in the field and has given the impression he was crying out for 6f on his last two runs over the minimum. He had the re-opposing Barbill behind in fourth when finishing runner up at Sandown two starts back and then filled the same spot in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes, seeing that race out really well to finish in front of Soldier’s Call and Vintage Brut, winners of the Windsor Castle and National Stakes respectively.
That’s just about the best form on offer here and he should do better still over today’s extra furlong, with his trainer seemingly unconcerned about the prospect of soft ground when earmarking this contest for his son of Showcasing in a Stable Tour last week.
There is plenty of solid recent form on display in the class 2 1m handicap and there are also five course winners amongst them. They include Roger Fell’s TWO FOR TWO who is getting weight all around having crept in at the bottom of the handicap. Don’t be put off by the fact he’s a ten-year-old as he showed he was no back number when finishing second in a veterans’ handicap at Pontefract last time. On that evidence he can definitely win again off his current mark (80) and won’t mind the conditions one bit as he has plenty of winning form on soft ground and wasn’t beaten far into second on ‘good to soft’ at Ayr in July off 11lb higher. He’s an each-way price too.
All odds were correct at time of posting.