Our racing expert tries his hand at Leicester.
There are five British meetings to bet on, but it’s the Flat fare at Leicester that has grabbed my attention and a couple of horses in particular.
The fillies’ handicap (due off 3.30pm) has drawn a competitive field of ten and there are some promising types amongst them, but they’ve all got the Charlie Hills-trained JADAAYIL. She proved costly for punters in a couple of runs in maiden company last season, going off favourite on both occasions, though her quarter-length second to subsequent Esher Cup winner Czabo at Newbury on her debut looks even better form now. Also, she may have been over the top when only fourth at Haydock on her final start.
However, some losses were recovered when she eventually shed her maiden tag on her reappearance at Newmarket in April, when she had the race won a furlong out, and she now goes handicapping off what is potentially a generous mark of 84. That is too low to get into the Sandringham at Royal Ascot, which has been mentioned as a target, and she’ll to win this and win well to make that gig. Although I’ve plenty of respect for the Godolphin runner, Next Life, I can see her heading to the Royal meeting chasing a hat-trick.
The 5f handicap run later on the card (due off 5.00pm) looks even more competitive, but we should get a good run for our money by backing the Ivan Furtado-trained CLASSIC PURSUIT. The five-year-old was in a battle with the handicapper after winning at Salisbury last July and was switched to his current stable for the start of this season. The move almost paid instant dividends as he went down by less than a length over track and trip on his reappearance, despite not enjoying the clearest of runs, and he would have finished closer than fourth when returned here next time if his rider hadn’t got his reigns tangled up close home.
Clearly the switch of scenery has done him the world of good, though a slipped handicap mark has also contributed to his resurgence, and he must again go close this afternoon off the same mark. His trainer, who has earned a deserved reputation for improving other stable cast-offs and is in form (three winners from his last eight runners), has booked Martin Harley to ride. That is significant as he was won on board for the gelding’s Salisbury win last summer and he has also has an eye-catching 50% (3-6) strike rate on all the stable runners.