Our racing expert likes the look of three Nottingham runners.
Others in the 6f nursery have more convincing form claims but they might not be as well handicapped as I’M BILLY MURPHY, who is surely better than his opening mark of 65. Nigel Tinkler’s charge certainly showed some promise when third on his Ripon debut just behind a subsequent winner who is now rated 79. His two qualifying runs since are harder to enthuse about but he should do a whole lot better now handicapping and with his stable in flying form, while he also benefits from Lewis Edmunds’ 3lb claim. He’s a big price – 16/1 at the time of writing – and I’m sure he can outrun those odds.
Affair has bee put in as favourite for the 1m6f handicap and that’s understandable as he’s been running well in defeat, including when beaten less a length over this track and trip last month. However, he does have an unexposed look about him and has now been beaten at relatively short prices on all four starts this season.
He’s worth taking on and I’m looking no further than Brian Ellison’s BURN SOME DUST, who resumed his progress when scoring over 1m41/2f at Newcastle last time out and could have more to offer over this longer trip. Previously, he’d looked fairly modest over shorter on turf, albeit he won a 1m handicap at Ayr last October on soft ground, but as a half-brother to 1m6f winner Nordic Combined he was always going to be better the further he went. Like his sibling, he also likes to get his toe in, so the forecast good to soft ground is in his favour, and if they go a good gallop, as seems likely, it will suit his come-from-behind style.
He’s not one to go overboard on given that he’s on a losing run of 17, but MAJOR VALENTINE looks to have solid claims in the 5f handicap. John O’Shea’s six-year-old has been sliding down the weights – he runs off 63 here having been as high as 75 – and his latest fourth over 6f at Chepstow six days ago suggested he was ready to take advantage. Always handy, he was sent on to win his race coming to the last furlong, only to get run out of it close home and drop back three places. Back on the same mark he won off over this track and trip in April 2017 and with Luke Morris taking over from a 7lb claimer, he can give his trainer a third success from just a handful of runners in the last fortnight.
All odds were correct at time of posting.