Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's action.
It’s low grade stuff today and I won’t be lumping on anything, but there are a trio of Windsor runners that merit a small interest.
Ralph Beckett’s NINE BELOW ZERO might be the answer to the opening class 4 5f handicap having finished a close second over the same track and trip seven days ago off the same mark. She had the re-opposing Rock Of Estonia behind in fourth on that occasion and that horse could do better if breaking on better terms this time. But the selection looks the more straightforward of the pair and he’s well treated on his peak two-year-old form, which includes a course and distance novice win last June. He didn’t really go on after that but was highly tried, including at Royal Ascot, and his three runs in today’s grade have yielded form figures of 112. UPDATE – Clive Cox’s Awesome is a springer in the market – into 9/4 favourite – and he rates the main danger to the selection.
Flying Sparkle is respected as the only previous winner in the 6f novice stakes and she’s a dual one at that, with one of her two victories coming over 5f here last July on her racecourse debut. She later went on to finish second in Redcar’s Two-Year-Old Trophy and was putting a lacklustre return to action on the all-weather at Wolverhampton behind her when making all in another novice event at Chepstow last time. With Cameron Noble’s claim helping to negate her penalty she is going to be hard to beat again.
But Henry Candy’s ROSE HIP went into my tracker having watched her keeping on nicely from the back to grab third on her racecourse debut at Salisbury 16 days ago. Green early and a long way off the leaders, she made up a lot of ground through the last two furlongs and while she was no match for the front pair, Embour (who has gone in again since) and Lashabeeh, she finished well clear of the remainder. She could be above average on that evidence and being speedily bred – she’s a half-sister to 5f juvenile winner Nisser amongst other speedy sorts – she’s going to best over sprint trips. In which case, she might be able to improve past the favourite.
The final selection is very speculative but the class 6 1m3f handicap won’t take much winning despite the big field and Jim Boyle’s THE NAUGHTY STEP is getting weight from all his rivals. That’s because he showed next to nothing in four juvenile starts, meaning he started this season on a mark of 47 (now 45). However, he must have been showing something at home to go off at just 6/1 on his return to action at Lingfield nine days ago. That was his first try beyond a mile and it should have suited him on breeding, so it was a little disappointing to see him fade into seventh having been close up for most of the race.
Perhaps that run was needed after all and it could be significant that he’s being turned out again so quickly over a slightly shorter trip and with a visor on for the first time. The stable form is another reason to think he might outrun his 16/1 price tag, with a couple of stablemates winning and four others finding the frame in the last fortnight, while the booking of Josephine Gordon is another positive in my mind. UPDATE – the selection is proving easy to back – out to 22/1 from 16/1 – and stakes should therefore be kept small.
All odds were correct at time of posting.