Our resident tipster fancies a couple of Epsom runners who are proven in the conditions.
Soft ground is the order of the day at all three of this afternoon’s meetings and sticking to those horses proven in the conditions makes a lot of sense.
With small fields at Goodwood and nothing jumping off the page, I’m going to have a crack at a couple of the Epsom handicaps, starting with the seven-furlong CSP Handicap (due off 3.35pm), for which the Mick Channon-trained HARLEQUIN STRIKER looks the one to be on.
The three-year-old has slipped back down to good mark and took full advantage when winning over a half furlong further at Ffos Las 19 days ago. The handicapper could only put him up 2lb for that short head success and that shouldn’t stop him going in again. He wouldn’t be winning back-to-back for the first time either as he achieved that feat last September, with the first of those successes coming over track and trip before following up on soft ground at Newbury nine days later. Charles Bishop, who rides today, was on board both times.
So, here you have a well-handicapped horse, who is proven on this idiosyncratic track and in the conditions, and we get to back him at a more than fair 7/2.
The Caroline’s Vision Celebration Handicap over 1m4f (4.10pm) looks pretty tight-knit with all seven runners holding claims. The hat-trick seeking Idle Talk is shading favouritism and Joe Santos’ charge should make a bold bid under a 6lb penalty for his latest success at Brighton. This is tougher, though, and he might meet his match in the Richard Hannon-trained MISHGHAR.
The three-year-old son of Galileo has been running well on Polytrack of late, finishing third over this trip last time out, just a neck away from second and three lengths clear of the fourth. That form entitles him to plenty of respect but what makes him really interesting is the fact he finished second in a soft-ground maiden at Newmarket in July, albeit six lengths behind the winner.
It’s hardly earth-shattering form, admittedly, but this class 5 race won’t take much winning and the selection is surely capable of doing just that off his current low mark of 69. But it is Hannon’s booking of Tom Marquand that is the absolute clincher for a bet, with the talented conditional taking a very handy 5lb off his back.