Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's Flat action at Leicester.
The handicaps at the Midlands venue look nigh on impossible and the best value bet on the card is running in the opening 5f novice, in which Robert Cowell’s BALLISTIC is fancied to see off eight rivals.
They are headed by Murqab, a close second at Doncaster last time, and Kevin Ryan’s Secret Venture, who is bred for the part and is worth a market check on his racecourse debut. But the selection’s debut effort in a good maiden at Newmarket’s Craven meeting was full of promise and having looked a bit clueless when coming off the bridle, he should know far more this time. He’s a son of Kodiac whose progeny tend to enjoy a bit of cut in the ground, so the forecast good to soft ground is in his favour, and he’s been working well at home since according to his trainer in a recent Stable Tour. He runs here in preference to a couple of engagements later this week.
Unless there is significant market support for any of the newcomers, William Haggas’ FANAAR is going to take plenty of beating in the 6f maiden. A £240,000 yearling, he made his racecourse debut in a 5f maiden at the Newmarket Guineas meeting and while he could only finish fourth of the six runners, he was spotted doing some decent late work once the penny had dropped. That trip would have been plenty short enough for him as he is bred to get further on the dam’s side of his pedigree and today’s extra furlong is probably what he needs at this stage of his career. With his stable amongst the winners (10-36 in the last fortnight) and Jim Crowley booked, he is taken to shed his maiden tag at the second time of asking.
It’s hard to be confident about the handicaps and the 7f contest is no exception, but ANGEL’S GLORY has shown enough on her three starts to suggest she can be competitive here. One of two Roger Varian-trained runners and the mount of Andrea Atzeni, she caught the eye when third on her racecourse debut at Haydock (6f, heavy) last September and looked to have done well for her winter break when reappearing in a Redcar novice earlier this month. Whilst beaten five lengths into second by Pretty Baby, that was no disgrace as the winner has since won again to earn a mark of 100 and they were well strung out in behind. Making her handicap debut here off a potentially generous mark of 78 and with today’s extra furlong likely to suit, she must be thereabouts at the finish.
Her stablemate Elation, the mount of Jim Crowley, is respected but a bigger danger looks to be Cavatina, who is just 1lb higher than when a close-up fourth in a better race than this at the Dante meeting.
The closing 6f handicap for fillies might go the way of George Scott’s BELLA FERRARI, with Jamie Spencer (3-17 on the stable runners) an eye-catching booking. One of the least exposed fillies in the field after just three starts and now making her handicap debut, she appeared to find 5f too sharp at Newcastle last time, with a slow start not helping her cause. Previously, she was never far away when a keeping-on second in a Pontefract novice run over this trip on good to soft ground, which bodes well as she faces similar conditions here. Furthermore, she may have got in lightly off an opening mark of 67 when you consider her Pontefract conqueror Three Saints Bay is rated 89, with further improvement almost a given.
Ralph Beckett’s Edge Of The World, who got off the mark at Yarmouth earlier this month and still looks well treated off a 5lb higher mark, is feared most of his 12 rivals.
All odds were correct at time of posting.