Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's racing.
Hugo Palmer doesn’t send many horses up to Ayr from his Newmarket base, so it could pay to take the hint when he runs AVENTINUS in the opening maiden at the Scottish track.
The son of Zoffany looked a ready-made winner of one of these when getting pipped at the post by a decent sort over this trip at Kempton last time, having shown promise on his York debut previously, and a reproduction of that effort would surely suffice against several rivals with something to prove in terms of the trip and going.
Roger Varian has a near 1-3 strike rate at Windsor and that increases interest in MYTIMEHASCOME, his only runner at the Berkshire track this evening. The daughter of Montjeu has some eye-catching form lines to recommend her too, most notably a length second behind subsequent Cheshire Oaks third Diamonds Pour Moi in a Kempton maiden over a mile last November. The third Pure Fantasy gave the form a boost when easily winning a handicap on her next start.
She would have needed her first run back at Salisbury in May, though she was hardly disgraced in third behind the winner Shall We, who has gone on to run a respectable fifth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. That’s more than enough evidence to suggest she can go close on her handicap debut off what looks a fair mark of 78 and in a first-time hood to presumably help her settle better over this longer trip, which should suit. She’s still in Saturday’s Irish Oaks, so this is by far the easier option.
The final bet is more speculative with the Marcus Tregoning-trained RIVER DART available at a juicy 9/1 for Windsor’s closing 1m2f handicap. Others make more appeal on more recent form, hence the odds, but it was around this time last year that he struck form, winning back-to-back races at Goodwood and Ascot and then not finishing that far behind Dartmouth when attempting the hat-trick at the former venue.
He lost his way a bit after that and didn’t show a great deal when reappearing at Sandown last month, although that was a better race than this and the run would have been needed. He should strip fitter this evening, when he will be wearing blinkers for the first time, and the booking of Royston French, who has won on his last two rides for the stable and has a 40% (6-15) strike rate overall, clinches the bet.