Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's racing.
Spotting when a horse is ready to take advantage of some kindness from the handicapper can prove lucrative, and all three of today’s picks look primed to do just that.
First up is the David O’Meara-trained MIME DANCE, who is running off 68 in the 1m handicap at Pontefract this afternoon. The five-year-old has shown very little in five starts for his current stable in 2016 – hence the leniency from the assessor – but he won four times when with Andrew Balding, the latest of those coming over 7f at Chepstow last July when rated 85. It’s surely a question of time before O’Meara gets to the bottom of him and, having campaigned him over 6f, it’s significant that he now steps him up to a mile and a stiff one at that. It should suit and today’s opposition is of a much lower quality than he’s used to now that he’s eligible for 0-70 handicaps. Stable jockey Daniel Tudhope takes over in the saddle for the first time and he can make the most of a good inside draw in stall two.
Dandy Nicholls has been enjoying an excellent summer and he’s clearly not lost his touch with sprinters judging by the exploits of Orion’s Bow and Kimberella. In STORM TROOPER he has inherited a well-handicapped horse from the Hannon stable and the five-year-old is lurking down near the bottom of the weights for the 5f handicap at the West Yorkshire track. A Sandown winner at two and rated as high as 87 at one stage, he’s tumbled down to just 63 and showed enough on his stable debut at Musselburgh last month to suggest the old ability is still there. Ridden by a 7lb claimer and unfancied at 50/1, he was beaten only three lengths into eighth despite not getting a clear run between 2f and 1f out. Royston French, who has a 20% strike rate on the stable runners, is booked on this occasion and stall six is just fine for him. He’s an each-way price too!
The Allister Whillans-trained RALPHY BOY is bidding to win the 1m handicap on the card for the second year running, and the omens for that are very good. He was running off a mark of 71 when making all 12 months ago and then defied a rating of 74 when going in again at Musselburgh two starts later. The handicapper stepped in after that, pushing him up to as high as 81 and he largely struggled, but he’s gradually come back down the weights as a result was running off 72 when a close second back at Musselburgh just five days. Off the same mark this afternoon and with seemingly little competition for the lead, it would be no surprise to see him blast out of stall two and not be headed. Last year’s runner-up Chiswick Bey may chase him home again.