The in-form Steven Dowler went agonisingly close in his Leicester preview on Thursday, landing places in 5/6 legs. Infuriatingly, one of his two selections was a non-runner in the only losing leg. He is determined to go even better when taking on the Boosted £10,000 Place 6 pool. He reckons that Danny Kirwan is going to take full advantage of a significant drop in class. If you agree with Steven’s picks, join his Syndicate here.
13.20 – Handicap Hurdle
FAUSTINOVICK has not yet lived up to his tall reputation since joining Colin Tizzard but has been found a good opportunity here now entering handicap company against modest opposition. FAUSTINOVICK has still showed a good level of form on his first three starts against stiff opponents and didn’t get home last time out over 2m5f in a much deeper race at Ascot, where he travelled the best horse before fading late on.
FAUSTINOVICK has actually travelled the best horse in all three runs over hurdles over longer trips without seeing out his races as you would have liked, so it seems logic that the drop back to 2 miles will be much better for him because his second in his sole bumper over the trip reads excellent form. Jonjo O’Neill is booked for ride and it would be a big disappointment if FAUSTINOVICK can’t win this off an opening handicap mark 122 that he is more than capable of exploiting.
Rob Walford has a decent horse in FLAGRANT DELITIEP, who has improved with each run and ran better than the finishing distance suggested when second on his handicap debut last time out. FLAGRANT DELITIEP is a horse who relishes testing ground, which he will get here and I think positive tactics will be applied as he stays further than this and I can see him running very well.
Selections: FAUSTINOVICK, FLAGRANT DELITIEP
13.50 – Handicap Chase
There will be plenty of pace in this competitive handicap chase and I fancy a couple of horses who like to force the issue. BILLINGSLEY will relish testing conditions and has definitely improved for a switch to a fence, winning his last couple of starts against decent opposition. He is up 7LB for that latest success at Haydock but there will be more improvement to come from him; especially at this track which will suit his attacking style of racing meaning he has outstanding claims of completing the hat-trick.
You can’t avoid Gary and Jamie Moore at this track and I do think BALLINSLEA BRIDGE has a massive chance for them here. He has only been out of the top three once in all starts, which came on his return from a 10 month break at this track over 2m4f.
BALLINSLEA BRIDGE never finished worse than second over hurdles, winning his last two starts in that sphere and has gone close the last twice at 2m3f over fences. The drop back to 2 miles will be more to his liking having looked the likely winner last time out before being caught late on and he remains on the same mark 125; making him very well treated with conditions spot on for him as his form figures on soft or worse ground reads an impressive 2-2-1-1-2-3.
Selections: BILLINGSLEY, BALLINSLEA BRIDGE
14.25 – Mares Novices’ Hurdle
The feature race of the day is the grade two mares hurdle and DESARAY GIRL bids to make it 4/4 over hurdles. She was a game winner of a listed event two runs ago at odds of 25/1 winning by a “neck” before winning a weak race by 13 lengths last time out. This promising 5yo does have to carry a penalty this time around but she is a mare going places and it is hard to overlook her whilst she is in cracking form.
I do also like ROSIE AND MILLIE, who I thought was unlucky not to beat Desaray Girl in that listed event at Haydock where she lost ground at most obstacles jumping to the right but rallied bravely late on to almost claim the prize going down narrowly in a driving finish. The switch to this right-handed track will definitely suit her better and if she can replicate that latest run in defeat then she must have a strong chance of gaining her revenge being 5LB better off with her conqueror this time.
Selections: DESARAY GIRL, ROSIE AND MILLIE
15.00 – Royal Artillery Gold Cup
RATHLIN ROSE knows this track inside and out being a former winner of the race and he has everything going for him again with ground conditions massively in his favour. He gets on extremely well with this pilot and was last seen finishing third in the Sussex national, showing that the fire still burns in this very classy 12-year-old. RATHLIN ROSE faces stiff opposition here but he is a course specialist and it wouldn’t come at all a surprise to see him make another bold bid in this race.
OZZY THOMAS looks to have been trained for this race having run a couple of good races in defeat over hurdles this season, finishing second each time in decent company. Those two runs will have put his fitness spot on for this race and he relishes soft ground along with the fact he remains relatively lightly raced for a 10-year-old and looks the one to beat.
Selections: RATHLIN ROSE, OZZY THOMAS
15.30 – Novices’ Hurdle
I have been a big fan of DANNY KIRWAN since he first come to Paul Nicholls. He is a high-class horse without a shadow of doubt and beat the useful Pym on debut before disappointing for the Aintree championship bumper when sent off a short price.
DANNY KIRWAN was then turned over at odds 1/2fav on debut but it was a messy two runner race and he was only narrowly beaten. He showed his true colours when chasing home Angel’s Breath in a grade two next time and although he hasn’t been seen since. DANNY KIRWAN takes a big drop down in class for his return and gets loads of weight from his two market rivals. Although DANNY KIRWAN will improve for the run, I am quietly confident his class will see him home in front.
There should also be more improvement to come from FAIRE PART SIVOLA, who absolutely bolted up on his hurdles debut beating an easy subsequent winner (Trincomalee). He proved that was no fluke when beaten just a head next time behind the above average Paul Nicholls trained Calva D’Auge, who has won again since to boost the form. FAIRE PART SIVOLA is a very nice horse, who shouldn’t be underestimated here by any means. I’ll take him and Danny Kirwan.
Selections: DANNY KIRWAN, FAIRE PART SIVOLA
16.00 – Handicap Chase
ST ERNEY is very interesting here against horses with more than experience. He has only run three times under rules but clearly has been targeted at this race for sometime. He might not have the experience of some of these in the race but his form stacks up very well. ST ERNEY had chased home two classy horses in the shape of Chef Des Obeaux and Lil Rockerfeller on his first two starts running good races each time before winning at Exeter on his handicap debut. ST ERNEY has gone up 8LB for that latest success but he remains completely unexposed with room for much more improvement and could still be ahead of the handicapper.
ANOTHER VENTURE remains 7LB above his last winning mark but has been holding his form well for a while in higher grade company on his two starts this season. He was beaten just half a length behind the useful Acting Lass at Chepstow on his return, which was a lot stronger race than this one and was then sixth at Cheltenham over a trip too far. ANOTHER VENTURE remains on the same mark as last time, dropped in trip and grade here. I think this 9-year-old is a solid selection to add onto our ticket.
THOMAS PATRICK is my final pick and although he was pulled up last time out, you can put a line through that race. His earlier second over C&D behind Elegant Escape is very strong form and if connections can get him back to that sort of level he would have a massive chance.
Selections: ST ERNEY, ANOTHER VENTURE, THOMAS PATRICK
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