With soft ground the order of the day, our resident tipster is concentrating on horses proven in the conditions.
The recent heavy rain shows no sign of letting ahead of the bank holiday weekend and soft-ground performers should be in their element.
One horse who will enjoy conditions at Catterick this afternoon is the Keith Dalgleish-trained ALASKAN WING, who contests the 7f handicap (due off 3.40pm). The improving three-year-old is becoming a standing dish here, winning on three of his four starts at the North Yorkshire track, and loves to get his toe in. The ground was officially “good to soft” when he won here last October and again at the beginning of July, when he had five lengths to spare over useful yardstick Alhella.
He’s won twice more since then and while he had only a neck to spare over the runner-up Tavener here last time, he can be considered value for a shade more than the official margin as, in the words of his jockey Tom Queally, he “got a bit of a wheel spin coming out of the stalls” and should have won far more easily.
He’s up another 4lb for that effort and is trying 7f for the first time today. However, the fact he was keeping on gamely over 6f last time suggests it won’t be a problem and his breeding – his sire Kodiac and dam both won over the longer trip – offers encouragement that he might even improve for it. The good form of his stable – a brace at the weekend made it five wins in the last fortnight – is yet another positive and the competitive nature of the race ensures we can back him at a decent price.
Staying at Catterick, the Scott Dixon-trained SIR GEOFFREY looks worth a small investment in the closing 5f handicap (5.15pm). The nine-year-old hasn’t won since scoring over track and trip last June on soft ground, but he has taken a tumble in the weights as a result and lines up today off a 9lb lower mark, and 4lb lower than when finishing third over 6f at Southwell on his latest start at the end of July.
That was a welcome return to form and given all his wins have come over the minimum trip it was no surprise to see him fade close home that day, having tried to make all. Connections may decide on identical tactics here and they have gone to the trouble of booking champion jockey elect Silvestre De Sousa, who should be able to make the most of a favourable low draw in stall two.
Catterick 3.40, Alaskan Wing @ 4/1 Ladbrokes
Catterick 5.15, Sir Geoffrey each-way @ 10/1 Betfair