Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's action, with a trio of Bath runners catching the eye.
The Robert Cowell-trained BELLA ALISSA is taken to defy top weight in the fillies’ handicap over 51/2f against six rivals. She was having only her second start for her current stable when landing a maiden here in June and having made much of the running in first time cheek-pieces, there was a lot to like about the way she buckled down close home to fend off the runner-up for a ready victory.
That run qualified her for handicaps and her opening mark of 70 looks very manageable. Indeed, she could be capable of rating much higher as she was a well regarded juvenile when with Peter Chapple-Hyam, finishing an unlucky third on her Goodwood debut having missed the break and trailed the field by some margin. The fact she was given an entry in the Cheveley Park Stakes, which wasn’t taken up, also tells you she must have been showing plenty at home. She’s favourite here, but deservedly so.
The nursery handicap run over the minimum trip is a definite drop in grade for the Brian Meehan-trained IVY LEAGUER and he is taken to see off his nine rivals. He should be a good price too given that he hasn’t finished closer than seventh in three starts. One of those was in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, in which he finished stone last, admittedly, while he beat only one rival home in a Listed contest at Sandown last time.
This is far easier and he’s also making his handicap debut off what could be a potentially lenient mark of 71. I’ll be staggered if he isn’t a good deal better than that and Meehan clearly thinks a bit of him too as he has him entered in a valuable sales race at York next month. But the clincher for the bet is the phenomenal stable record at this track with 16 winners from just 48 runners (33%) in the last years. If you’d backed them all you’d be showing a very tidy profit of £76.48 to £1 level-stakes. Take a price.
Roger Varian is, as usual, banging in the winners at a very respectable rate and that is because he places his horses so well. Of course it also helps that he has plenty of talent to draw on and in YALAWIN he has an improving sprinter to go to war with in the coming months. He has been given an entry in next month’s Stewards’ Cup and if he is to stand a chance of getting into that race, he could do with going up a few pounds by winning this afternoon’s 51/2f handicap for three-year-olds.
At first glance it looks quite a competitive heat, despite the small field of seven, with several rivals bringing solid recent form to the table. Assuming Super Julius doesn’t run (he’s engaged to run at Windsor on Monday evening), the best of these may be bottom weight and course and distance winner Mr Pocket. However, the selection’s second to the useful Evergate when last seen out at Windsor in May looks strong form and he was a very easy winner of a Ripon maiden prior to that, on ground as fast as he will encounter here. He’ll do for me.