Our resident tipster is eyeing up a double at Pontefract on Sunday.
David Lanigan has his team in rude health at the moment and his ALMODOVAR looks something to bet on when he runs in the 1m4f handicap at Pontefract on Sunday (due off 2.45pm).
The Lambourn based handler has not looked back since sending out Interception (who runs later in the 3.45 race) to win the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, with his last runners finishing 122243144710, and his strike rate on turf for this seasonnow stands at a healthy 24%. He doesn’t tend to over-face his horses so the fact the selection has been given a St Leger entry is a measure of his belief in the improving three-year-old.
The son of Sea The Stars has a long way still to go before justifying his entry in the Doncaster Classic, but he is clearly going the right way. After getting off the mark at only the second time of asking over 1m2f at Ayr last month, he had no problem following up off a mark of 80 on his handicap debut at Leicester last time, despite showing signs of greenness.
He will have learned a lot from that and the extra two furlongs of today’s race should be right up his street as he looked stronger at the finish than at any other stage at the Midlands track. What’s more, the handicapper has raised him just 6lb for his three-quarter length success and his new mark of 86 surely underestimates his true ability – a rating in the high 90s should be within his compass this season and he’ll be an even better horse next season.
In any more encouragement for a bet was needed you only need to look at his jockey George Baker’s record when riding the stable runners. Since teaming up with Lanigan in 2014, he’s booted home 20 winners from his 55 rides (36%) for a phenomenal £1 level-stakes profit of £93.68, with this season’s stats standing at a far from shabby 13-30 (43%) for a profit £45.80.
The 1m handicap run later on the card (4.20pm) looks competitive, despite there being just seven runners. None can be totally ruled out and that should ensure we get a price on the day’s other selection, the David Barron-trained SWIFT EMPEROR. One betting forecast has him at 4/1 and I’d gladly take that.
A winner on his debut at Redcar last September when totally unfancied (went off at 33/1), he has come out this term to run down the field in a hot handicap at York in May, before showing the benefit of that run when winning over a mile at Haydock in June. The form of that race looks strong as the head runner-up had won well previously and the third and fourth have both come out and won since.
He’s gone up just 3lb to a mark of 84 and, like the first selection, he’s surely got a few pounds in hand of the handicapper. His trainer must think so too as he was very complimentary in a recent Stable Tour, describing him as a “very nice horse” while saying there is potential for a lot of improvement and that he would be disappointed if he didn’t win again before too long. It could well be today.
Pontefract 2.45, Almodovar @ best morning-line price
Pontefract 4.20, Swift Emperor @ best morning-line price