Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
It pays to be drawn low on the sprint track at Beverley and Kevin Ryan’s TOP OF THE BANK is nicely berthed to attack in division two of the 5f handicap at the North Yorkshire track this afternoon.
Having shown useful juvenile form and got off the mark in a Thirsk maiden on his reappearance in April, the three-year-old was expected to make up into a decent sprint handicapper this season. That’s not proved the case, though, as he’s cut little ice in two starts since, including when stone last at York last time out.
But he’s evidently thought capable of better and Ryan, writing in a Stable Tour back in June, was keen to talk him up, saying that he’d done physically well this year and that he should win more races this season on fast ground.
He has his conditions this afternoon, to go with a good draw, and the application of first-time blinkers might be just what he needs to put his best foot forward. The headgear has helped several stablemates in recent times with a stable record of nine winners from the last 32 (19%) first-time blinkered runners for a £1 level-stakes profit of £52.00.
David Simcock has his string ticking along nicely with nine winners in the last fortnight and his DOCTOR SARDONICUS is fancied to keep the good run going when he runs in the 5f handicap at Yarmouth, with Jamie Spencer booked to do the steering.
The five-year-old was a disappointing favourite in a big-field York handicap back in May but bounced back to form when beating eight rivals in a 6f handicap at this track on his penultimate start, before finishing eighth (of 18) when trying to follow-up at Ascot last time, albeit not beaten far.
It appears a small field and decent ground brings out the best in him and that is evidenced by his form figures of 11311 when racing over 5f-7f on good or faster turf or Polytrack and in fields of ten or fewer runners. In which case we can expect a big run this afternoon against nine rivals and with the ground officially riding good to firm. UPDATE – the race has been abandoned due to safety concerns over the track.
Staying at the seaside track, we should get a nice price on Charlie Fellowes’ ZAIN EMPEROR in the proceeding 1m handicap given that he disappointed when last seen out on the all-weather 70 days ago and is up against some in-form rivals.
The reasons for backing him are provided by his trainer who was writing in his weekly racing column: ‘He wants quick summer ground and is a course and distance winner. You can put a line through Kempton because that was a period when my horses were having some issues. He’s been off since but is A1 now and we’re looking forward to him.’