Today’s horse racing preview has four selections over three different meetings, Nottingham, Ludlow and the night meeting at Kempton. Just catching up on the results for Monday, the ratings went well with two winners both succeeding at 9/4 which is pleasing to see, something is working
14.25 Ludlow – Welsh Border Area Point-to-Point Awards 2017 Mares Handicap Hurdle (21.2f) (0-130)
Secret Door (122)
Wizards Sliabh (118)
Poetic Lady (113)
With just 4lb separating the top two in my ratings this looks a good looking hurdle contest. Fergal O’Brien’s Wizard’s Sliabh will make her seasons re-appearance this afternoon, She returns to Ludlow which saw her run a creditable second to Ludlow specialist Tara View who has gone on to win a 0-135 around here and finish fourth in a competitive Grade 2 at Newbury when behind recent French winner Snow Leopardess, Wizard’s Sliabh was seventh in that Newbury contest. If she is fit and ready she would have to be feared the most to the selection.
Poetic Lady comes here off the back of two solid wins, her win on her handicap debut saw her beat Seamus Mullins Kentford Heiress who has gone on to a good third in a 0-145 hurdle when finishing behind Holly Bush Henry who has also won two on the spin this year. She would not want the ground to dry out too much this afternoon, however she still looks off a competitive mark of 113. The selection though comes in the way of Harry Fry’s Secret Door who won over the course back in March in this category over two miles.
She was subsequently stepped up to two and a quarter miles back in April when taking a valuable prize at Haydock when just holding on to beat highly rated Poppy Kay of Philip Hobbs. Her last run of last season came at Market Rasen when running a big race off a 7lb penalty being denied to just over one length to now 128 rated hurdler Sandymount of Tom George’s. Back in fifth was 140 rated Work In Progress who unseated Harry Skelton when travelling well in a Listed hurdle a couple of weeks ago at Market Rasen.
Poetic Lady will once more run her race and has to be feared with Noel Fehlly doing the steering, Wizard’s Sliabh has a big race in her I think this season and is feared the most, but the selection goes to the improving Secret Door who can steps up in trip again here, and she does look better the further she goes.
SECRET DOOR : 2pt Win @ SP (BOG)
15.50 Nottingham – 32 Redsport.com Handicap (0-75) (8.3f)
Dragon’s Voice (86) (Could be NR)
Caledonia Duchess (76) Reserve
Graham Lee has definitely enjoyed returning here the past two seasons with taking this race for trainers Ed McMahon & Jonjo O’Neill, this time around he rides for another jump trainer in Philip Hide who saddles Dragon’s Voice here. He has notched up three wins this season which included in this category, but he also won a 0-85 last time out at Windsor when off a mark of 75.
When he won back in May in a 0-70 Classified Stakes race the handicapper looked to have totally unassessed him when giving him a winnable mark of just 72. He duly exploited that when finishing third on his return to Nottingham over the distance. Now off a mark of 74 he once more went on to Windsor and won well. His next two runs were poor when stepped into 0-80 company, but he bounced back on easing ground to land a 0-85 handicap on his second seasons appearance at Windsor on Monday, now with only a two day break, will be interesting to see if he runs.
If Dragon’s Voice fails to appear today at Nottingham, then the selection goes to Willie Muir’s Mikmak who will relish any under foot conditions being by Makfi. His two best runs have come on soft ground this year when runner up on both occasions, once in a 0-80 and a 0-90, but they were over 10f. We would have to go back to this time last year when last seen on turf over a mile, excuses can be made on the quicker ground that day, and the fact he was competing at a much higher level than this.
Most of his runs over the 8f has come around the all weather, and he has equipped himself very well, but now the fact of the combination of soft ground, the fact he has dropped off 72 today and I have him around 80, in fairness he has a lot going for him if he can handle the 8f on turf.
Tadaany ran well last time at Redcar finishing third off a mark of 71, he is a good to soft winner last year at Ayr when off a 5lb higher mark, he can definitely get competitive off today’s 69, but Ruth Carr’s present form of 3-80 is a big concern. Caledonia Duchess would be considered if Dragons’s Voice pulls, she gets in here 5lb out of the handicap, but the services of David Egan is a plus, Caledonia Duchess is still a maiden after fourteen career runs and has not shown anything to suggest a win on the all weather or turf is imminent.
It’s all about if Dragon’s Voice turns up here, he will be put forward as the main bet in the race, however if he fails then Mikmak takes his place, who comes into this off a workable mark and will relish the conditions more than most, Tadaany will be trying to take Ruth Carr off the cold list, but does look up against it here.
DRAGONS VOICE : 2pt Win @ SP (With A Run) – MIKMAK : 1pt Win @ SP (BOG) (Second Choice)
16.20 Nottingham – 32 Redsport.com Handicap (D11) (8.3f) (0-75)
William Booth (80)
Groor / Cornelius (77)
Harlequin Striker (76)
This is a small investment contest to be fair here at Nottingham, however William Booth has moved stables from Daniel Loughnanes over the summer and is now trained by Ivan Furtado. This will be his third career visit to Nottingham, both runs have come over an extended 10f around here and did not really show anything special when down the field on handicap debut back in July, that is when the move was made and Furtado is renown of taking on new horses and reviving them.
If he ran up to his maiden at Beverley back in June when finishing third of five over an extended mile he would have to be taken seriously here, the front two War of Succession (76) and Luminous (66) should mean him coming here off 68 he has to have a live chance. His all weather maiden run when behind the likes of Makaarim (83) & Pete So High (78) again should be good enough to make him go close under today’s pilot Franny Norton.
Groor and Cornelius have been running very below par, however they both have ability ratings, Groor was going well until slipping up and un-shipping Harry Bentley off the bend at Epsom last month. The winner that day Lady Perignon has run well against superior horses that are weighted 18lb her superior, the runner up has finished behind the smart 91 rated Moolazim. Groor was rated in the mid nineties last year, he has been on the decline, this was also a horse that was competing out in Meydan last year when beating now 95 rated Mutasayyid.
Cornelius last saw 8f back on the all weather at Kempton last August when finishing fourth when off a mark of 66, with a career highest mark of 71 he is not really setting the world alight to the effect he can land a blow here. Last but not least Harlequin Striker who recorded his last win back in June of last year at Windsor when winning off 78, he followed up when running really well off a 5lb penalty when running Fingal’s Cave to a neck off 83.
Most of his races over the past twelve months have been at a higher level, this is a good drop back in grade and if he can re-produce a good run off 72 he deserves to be in the mix. I would like to think William Booth can take this under Franny Norton, the main danger has to be Groor, even his Meydan run would be far superior to this lot of mid-handicappers, Cornelius and Harlequin Striker, especially the latter, can be involved.
WILLIAM BOOTH : 1pt each way @ SP (BOG)
17.20 Kempton – Close Brothers Business Finance Handicap (0-55) (7f)
Never Folding (63)
This is literally the lowest of the low, poor handicappers that will never achieve above a level of mid sixties, however a few have, especially Daniel Steele’s Pulsating, which is why I have given him a rating of 68 when just coming here off a moderate 54. He has competed twice over today’s trip and failed miserably, but these came in 0-70 handicaps, obviously he is just a standard horse that needs a bit of luck, jockey booking of Liam Keniry is not a bad plus, if he runs up to what marks he has ran off in the past he won’t get a better chance of exploiting today’s 54.
One I do like in this is Belgravian, now never go against the top rated, but I am going to make an exception here. Two runs back at Chelmsford when competing over 8f he ran really well off 57, finishing close to Charles Hills Bradfield Magic, with a drop of 4lb and once more Oisin Murphy in the plate I really feel we could see him go exceptionally close.
Never Folding was ridden by Oisin Murphy at Kempton back in April when finishing fifth off 62, the winner that day Arctic Sea now posts a rating of 77, he is 0-9 and looking to turn things around here off a moderate 52, 10lb lower than early last season, however Oisin has elected to ride Belgravian which speaks volumes
BELGRAVIAN : 1pt each way @ SP (BOG)
Best of Luck, Bet Responsibly