Our resident tipster is sweet on the chances of a couple of handicap runners at Sandown and Newbury.
Andrew Balding has his string in good form and his MUNSTEAD PRIDE looks worth supporting when he runs in the 1m6f handicap for three-year-olds at Sandown this afternoon (due off 2.55pm).
A winner over a mile on the Southwell Fibresand last November, the gelding has had a couple of runs this term and did best on the first of those when finishing third on his handicap debut over 1m4f at Newmarket. He was expected to build on that when stepped up to this trip on his next start at Sandown, going off as 2/1 favourite, and it was therefore a little disappointing to see him finish fourth of the ten runners.
However, I’m prepared to give him another chance as he was doing all his best work late on in what was a more competitive contest and he remains open to further improvement after just five starts. What’s more he’s likely to have been targeted at this race, which has been won by his stable three times in the last seven years, and he gets 9lb from his main market rival and 9/4 favourite Secateur. That horse won as he liked at Newmarket last time, but he is stepping up in class here and has been hit with a 12lb rise. The selection is value at 7/2 against him.
Hopefully, we’ll be playing up our winnings on today’s nap, the Richard Hannon-trained ROYAL TOAST, who gets weight from his five rivals in the 1m2f handicap at Newbury this evening (7.05pm). He’s still a maiden after five starts, but that won’t be the case for much longer based on what he’s shown on his last three runs, finishing third on each occasion.
The first of those came in maiden company at Haydock in late May, which qualified him for a mark, and he was then spotted staying on well from a long way back behind a couple of rivals who had raced prominently and enjoyed a pace bias on his handicap debut at Goodwood. Dropping back to a mile at Ascot last time, he again ran on strongly close home, having lost his place and been short of room, suggesting that trip is now too short. Back over 1m2f this evening and off the same mark, he can get his head in front and reward his backers at 11/4 (as short as 7/4 in a place).