Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's action.
The maiden contests at Leicester could throw up some nice middle-distance horses for next season and John Gosden’s Azam in particular looks a ready-made winner of one of these, having shaped with plenty of promise on his Newmarket debut.
He should oblige for favourite backers (5/4 with bet365) in the opener, but the main bets are running in the handicaps and we’ve got to wait for the last race for today’s nap, the Henry Candy-trained ARTISTS MODEL, who appears to be blossoming. She is just 6lb higher for winning comfortably on her handicap debut over an extended mile here last time, having found only a fellow improver too good at Salisbury previously, and should be capable of rating a fair bit higher than her current perch of 71.
It was the manner in which she drew clear up the hill to put plenty of daylight between herself and the runner-up Wrapped (a winner since) that left observers with the impression she is still improving, and today’s slightly longer trip might show in her in an even better light. That she is related to a couple of winning hurdlers and is out of a 1m3f winner backs that up and when fillies start improving at this time of year there is no knowing how far they will go.
She may have most to fear from fellow three-year-old Al Nasser Alwashik who wasn’t beaten far into third at Pontefract last week, although he disappointed at Nottingham previously and is still a maiden after seven starts.
The 7f handicap run earlier on the card looks tight with only rank outsider Maggie Pink discounted of the six runners. Both That Is The Spirit and Can’t Change It arrive on the back of wins and unsurprisingly they occupy the first two positions in the market (bet365 make them 11/4 joint favourites). However, neither are that consistent and have revised marks to overcome, so I’d much rather be on course winner C NOTE at bigger odds.
Martyn Meade’s charge was highly tried after winning a 6f conditions event here in April and was not totally disgraced in Group 3s at Ascot and at the royal meeting. There wasn’t much wrong either with his close up fourth back into handicap company at Newbury two starts back, but he then ran a stinker when sent off favourite at Lingfield, finding nothing for pressure and finishing a well beaten third of the four runners.
That was simply too bad to be true – perhaps he didn’t take to the all-weather surface? – and I for one am prepared to give him another chance now returned to the scene of his win and on only his second start in a handicap. Certainly, I’ll be surprised if his current mark of 97 is the ceiling of his ability and the application of first-time blinkers might help him reach his potential. With Jim Crowley booked and with his stable boasting a 29% (2-7) strike rate at this venue, I’m happy to open my wallet at bet365’s 9/2.