Our racing expert is hopeful of boosting the Aintree betting bank with a couple of flat fancies.
Punters looking to get involved this afternoon are faced with flat cards at Nottingham and Catterick and all-weather meetings at Kempton and Lingfield.
It’s time to get out of jumps mode – if only for today – and there are a couple of horses taking the eye with the potential to boost the Aintree betting bank, starting with the Charlie Hills-trained A MOMENTOFMADNESS, who is attempting to win back-to-back races in the 5f handicap at Nottingham (2.50pm).
He’s appropriately named as he’s a real nutter in that he tears off in front and pulls his rider’s arms out. Still, he managed to hold on to the lead when winning his maiden over 6f at Lingfield last July and was far from disgraced on his final appearance of last term, finishing midfield in the valuable sales race at York in August won by Tasleet after again showing blinding speed for over half a mile.
A winter break has clearly not blunted his speed as he soon led when reappearing over 6f at Kempton last month and, after being clear at halfway, he again managed to hold on by half a length from the fast-finishing Gorokai. His rider Daryl Holland (who is back on board today) said afterwards that he was “very, very quick – probably the quickest I have sat on in the last couple of years.”
His trainer is of the same view, writing in his Weekender column: ‘He’s a very speedy colt. He thrived during the winter and was working so well we ran him at Kempton, when he won again over 6f with a bit to spare. He’s gone up 4lb to 83, but I think there will be even more improvement if we drop him back to 5f. He’ll go to Nottingham next week when he’ll give another good account and, looking a little further ahead, I think he’d be ideal for Chester.’
Heavy ground is the only real worry for the selection this afternoon, but he seemed to handle soft at York okay and none of his rivals are proven on the surface either. Of these, the Brian Ellison-trained Total Power is feared most.
The second bet is running on the all-weather at Lingfield with the Chris Wall-trained NORTH CREEK fancied to land a course and distance hat-trick. The three-year-old absolutely sluiced home in the second division of a class 4 handicap here last time, quickening clear in good style before being eased down to win by three and a quarter lengths. His winning time that day was a second faster time than the one achieved by Ruby Wednesday (one of today’s five rivals) in the first division run earlier on the same card.
That impressive performance suggests he can defy an 11lb rise in this better race and he should be a backable price too with recent Wolverhampton winner Ilzam, the mount of Ryan Moore, and the promising Richard Hannon-trained Inland Sea also in opposition. Any market support for the latter would be significant on his first start for 234 days, though he has to give the selection 4lb and his powerful stable isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.