Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's action.
With both of today’s jumps meetings subject to inspections, I’m turning to the all-weather and Wolverhampton is much preferred over Lingfield. The latter track is staging a couple of class 7s and the card is unappealing as a whole, whereas there are some quality sorts on show at the Midlands venue.
The class 2 6f handicap features three last-minute-out winners and they include the evergreen ten-year-old Tropics, who has won twice this winter including over track and trip in December. However, he’s racing off a 7lb higher mark this evening and he might have to give best to Roger Varian’s bang-in-form ATLETICO.
The six-year-old also has a course and distance success on his CV and has kept his form well since winning on the Tapeta at Newcastle in December, with a couple of career-best efforts in defeat since. After going close against much higher-rated rivals in a conditions stakes back at Newcastle, he did well to finish second again over 5f here 16 days ago given he was behind and got stuck in traffic from halfway.
The winner Orvar wasn’t disgraced when sixth in Listed company on Saturday, while the third Tomily filled the same spot in that contest, so the form looks strong and the selection is clearly a sprinter on the up. He does have an extra furlong to travel this afternoon but he has won over this far and his two most recent efforts suggest he’s going to relish it.
I’m going to swerve the rest of the handicaps and concentrate on the novice events, which contain some above average sorts for this time of year. The 1m11/2f contest looks particularly strong as it features Aquarium, an all-the-way winner at Lingfield last time on what was just his second outing, and Loyal Promise, a Derby entrant who chased home (albeit six lengths adrift) a smart sort on his racecourse debut at Newcastle 17 days ago.
However, I just prefer the chances of Ed Walker’s LEGAL HISTORY as he has looked steadily progressive in three starts this winter and finished a clear second behind Beautiful Memory at Chelmsford (1m2f) on his most recent outing. Held up off a slow early gallop, his rider Jamie Spencer decided to make a positive move down the back straight and, had he had not been up against such a decent filly (now rated 92), it would have been a race-winning tactic. With further improvement likely, he can go one better here.
A £10 double on Atletico and Legal History at current bet365 odds (7/4 & 7/4) pays £75.63, so just over 13/2.
Reiffa has been put in as favourite for the 6f novice but she could be worth taking on as she has been beaten at odds-on the last twice, and only just held on for second from a 4-0 rated older horse last time. That she is returning to the scene of her debut success is a positive, of course, and Martin Harley is taking over from an apprentice. However, she clearly has her limitations and a couple of her rivals are interesting.
Poetic Imagination was a 6f winner at Lingfield earlier this month and seemed unsuited by the drop back to 5f when second just three days later, so he has to be considered. But Clive Cox’s PERFECT LADY should also be suited by this trip having faded into fourth over 7f here in December, when only giving best at the furlong marker. That wasn’t a bad debut effort by any means and, as the first foal of a 6f juvenile winner, she might be more of a sprinter. With Adam Kirby raking the reigns and 8/1 up for grabs, it’s worth paying to find out.
All odds were correct at time of posting.