Our racing guru is having a crack at a couple of all-weather handicaps.
There is plenty of recent winning form on display in the 32Red.com Handicap over 5f (due off 5.55pm), but the value lies in siding with handicap debutant GORGEOUS GEEZER, who has been showing ability in maiden company and looks to be on a fair mark of 71.
Martin Smith’s colt made his debut in what was a decent 7f maiden at Lingfield in October and ran better than his finishing position of seventh (of eight runners) would suggest, as he matched strides for a long way with the 94-rated eventual winner Race Day, who was landing a hat-trick.
Dropped back to 6f on his next start at Lingfield, he was held up from a wide draw before staying on well to finish third behind a couple of rivals, who benefited from being ridden more prominently and are now rated 77 and 76. On his latest outing, over 6f at this track, he pulled very hard for the first half of the race but briefly came back on the bridle alongside the impressive winner Soofiah before fading into third, just a neck behind the second.
Based on those efforts, he has a race in him off his current mark and the drop back to the minimum might be just what this speedily son of Kheleyf needs. Robert Winston takes over from a claimer and he can make the most of what is a good draw in stall two. Best of all we get to back him at a tasty 6/1 thanks to the presence of three last-time-out winners in the field.
The 32Red Handicap run over 1m (7.25pm) looks just as competitive and with bookmakers going 4/1 the field we are again looking at a decent payout for landing on the winner. Step forward the Rod Millman-trained ISIS BLUE, who shrugged off a tardy start to win over course and distance last time and almost certainly has more to offer.
The six-year-old is lightly-raced due to injury problems and was having his first start for 28 months when returning at this course in November with a promising second to the progressive Dubawi Light. He didn’t appear to stay 1m4f when sixth here on his next start but bounced right back last time out under today’s 5lb claiming rider Alice Mills, and the form looks strong with the fourth and eighth winning three times between them since.
The handicapper has raised him 4lb for that effort but he still looks well treated on a mark of 69, having been rated in the mid-70s before his long layoff, and he is still unexposed after just 14 starts and only three runs at this distance. Clearly well suited to the track, he can make the most of the weight he receives from main market rival Mystical Spirit, who is respected but may just need this having been off for 144 days.
All odds were correct at time of posting.