Our racing expert is sticking with trainers in form for today's bets.
You should never underestimate trainer form when deciding what to bet on and all three of today’s selections hail from yards who are banging out the winners.
Paul Midgley couldn’t train a winner for toffee in the first part of 2016 – just one of his first 84 runners this year obliged – but he’s turned the corner of late with three winners from his last 17 runners (18%) for a £1 level-stakes profit of £11.50. There’s no reason to think the good spell won’t continue as he has a host of well handicapped horses to go to war with and June is traditionally the time to follow the stable runners blind, with his record this month since 2012 standing at an impressive 30 winners from 165 bets for a £1 level-stakes profit of £35.50.
He has a couple of runners at Hamilton this afternoon and Merry Banter, who runs in the opening 5f novice should make a bold bid to follow up last month’s Catterick success. However, the form doesn’t amount to much and now penalised I’m reluctant to put her up as a bet, whereas stablemate GROUNDWORKER makes plenty of appeal in the following 5f handicap for apprentice riders (2.30pm). A winner off much higher marks than today’s when trained by Sylvester Kirk, he showed a return to top form was imminent when finishing third at this track last week and can go two better here.
Kevin Ryan has his string firing on all cylinders with 11 winners in the last fortnight and COUNT MONTECRISTO, his sole runner at Ripon (assuming Briyouni isn’t turned out again after yesterday’s odds-on defeat), can be another for him in the 1m1f handicap (3.20pm). A consistent sort last season when finishing runner-up four times and finally losing his maiden tag when making all for an eight-lengths success at Hamilton in September, he looks the type to do even better as a four-year-old and he should come on a lot for his reappearance sixth at Beverley, which was surely needed. With the rust now out of his system, he should make a bold bid from the front as is his style.
Although main market rival Rotherwick is respected, he is proving hard to win with and has looked far from a straightforward ride on several occasions, including when turned over as favourite at Newmarket last time. Besides, his overall record suggests that soft ground will be required before he can add to his win tally and that is not forecast here. The rest are relatively exposed sorts, so this does look a good opportunity for the selection to get back to winning ways.
The final bet takes less explaining as the Jamie Snowden-trained CARRIGKERRY is bidding for a hat-trick in the 3m handicap hurdle at Ffos Las after wins at Worcester and Southwell, the latest by an eased down 20 lengths. He was a fair point-to-pointer / hunter chaser previously, but the switch to a professional yard and handicap company has clearly done him the world of good and a 7lb penalty is unlikely to stop him going in again. Anyone looking to take him on will point to the fact both his wins have come over 2m4f, but his superiority only grew in the closing stages last time and he has won over this trip three times in points.
The presence of Frontier Vic, Presence Felt and Hold Court give the race a competitive look – allowing us to back the selection at odds against – and the latter in particular is respected after getting back to winning ways at Worcester last time. He’s gone up 7lb for his troubles, though, and may find the Snowden runner too well handicapped.