Our racing expert has earmarked three value selections.
William Knight has sent out just eight winners on turf in 2016 but four of those have come in the last fortnight, including Saturday’s Sandown scorer Secret Art at 16/1, and that increases interest in his CLOTILDE, his sole runner at Pontefract in the Listed Pipalong Stakes (due off 3.10pm).
The winner of her first two starts of 2016 on the all-weather, she has maintained her improvement on turf and, having brought up the hat-trick at Windsor, she returned to that track to finish a fine third in a Listed contest against male horses last time, despite meeting significant interference. On that evidence she can definitely win at this level and this looks a good opportunity against her own sex and with this stiff mile in her favour. Her stable is 2-9 (27%) at the track since 2012.
Knight also sends one horse to Brighton in the shape of EOLIAN, who is having his second start in the 7f maiden (6.10pm) against nine rivals. He went into my notebook after an eye-catching debut effort at Salisbury, where he was spotted running on nicely into fifth without being given a hard time. With that experience under his belt and given normal improvement, we can expect much better this evening.
I’d really fancy his chances but for the presence in the line-up of Frankel’s son, Majoris, who showed promise when sixth on his debut in a Haydock maiden, the form of which is working out. Hugo Palmer’s charge has been put in as 5/4 favourite and may well win, but the selection is still worth considering each-way at a double-figure price and is one to lump on when be steps up to a mile later in the season.
Staying at the seaside track and the 1m handicap looks far more competitive, but one who should go well at a price is the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained PATANJALI. Lightly-raced after just seven starts, she has shown on more than one occasion that she has ability and is running here off her lowest ever mark and over her best trip, having patently failed to last home over 1m2f last time.
Now reunited with Charles Bishop, who rode her into fourth over 1m at Bath on her penultimate start, and hailing from a stable in good form – three winners and several places to show from the last fortnight – there’s plenty to like about her chances. And I’m clearly not the only person to notice her credentials as she has already been nibbled at in the market (was 12/1 when I stated writing), but there’s still enough juice in her price to get involved – and 8/1 winners don’t grow on trees!