Our racing expert has one to back under each code this afternoon.
There’s not much taking the eye today and the temptation is to keep the powder dry for the Dante meeting at York which gets under way tomorrow, but I’m tempted to have a little on WINDFORPOWER in the 5f handicap at Beverley (due off 3.00pm).
The seven-year-old is making a quick reappearance – often a good sign with a sprint handicapper – after finishing third (of 16) at Thirsk on Saturday and that run can be upgraded as he had to switch far side from a poor high draw. It also signalled that his return to the winner’s enclosure wasn’t far off after a losing run going back to Wetherby last June.
His trainer Tracy Waggott is doing the right thing turning him out again as he is likely to go up a pound or two when reassessed and he’s undoubtedly well handicapped on a mark of 60 given he’s been as high as 73 and won off 68 last summer under Joe Fanning, who is back on board this afternoon. He can make the use of what looks a good draw in stall four and give us a nice 11/2 payout.
Over jumps now and one horse I’ve been waiting to back is the Kim Bailey-trained BALLYKNOCK LAD, who makes his return to action in the 3m1f handicap chase at Wincanton (3.10pm) after a break of 165 days. He only has four rivals and all are preferred in the betting – Tom George’s Kilbree Lad is a worthy 6/4 favourite – but it’s hard to resist a small wager at the 10/1 on offer.
He was a fair hurdler, winning one of his seven starts in that sphere and finishing a close second in a handicap at Chepstow in September on his reappearance, when showing the benefit of a summer breathing operation. However, as a winning pointer he was always going to make a better chaser and, while he was pulled up when making his chase debut at Taunton in November, we can forgive him that effort as he found the track far too sharp.
That run at least qualified him for a handicap mark – he starts off on a potentially generous perch of 118 – and in-form trainer can surely place him to good advantage off it this spring when the ground is in his favour, like today. He said: “He’s a top-of-the-ground horse and we’ve been waiting for the faster conditions. I have been very happy with his work in recent weeks so we are hopeful he can be there or thereabouts.”