With just the two meetings to work with today it has been tough to find three confident selections. Nevertheless we begin at Wolves where Pearl Nation looks likely to head the market and has been in good form on the Fibresand at Southwell with two wins and a second from his last three runs there. It is worth noting he has never won in seven starts here at Wolves (all prior to the surface change) but if he transfers his Southwell form to the Tapeta he could be tough to beat. At the likely short odds I feel there is better value elsewhere and preference is for Energia Flávio.
Energia Flávio was last seen finishing third here on Boxing Day and has raced over track and trip on three occasions without success but he has been steadily improving and the aforementioned third was his best effort to date. Dropping down in grade for this race he should be able to get his nose in front today.
Another to note is Haaf A Sixpence who is back down to his last winning mark and has a strike rate of 60% for finishes inside the first three whenever racing on an an all-weather surface. The booking of Adam Kirby looks a positive one, although his 20% win rate here at Wolves will be put to the test as the horse has yet to get back to his best since returning from almost twelve months away.
Energia Flávio (WIN)
We stay at Wolves for our second selection where it is difficult to look past the forecast favourite Harwoods Star. He will probably go off at a short price thanks to his impressive win at Southwell last week, beating the re-opposing Steel City Boy by almost two lengths. Racing off the same mark here he should be doubling his win tally.
Steel City Boy looks the obvious danger again and has seven career wins over today’s trip, although his last win came almost two years ago. His second to Harwoods Star last week was his best performance in over a year but with jockey Ann Stokells claim he arrives here on marginally better terms and looks the most likely to challenge.
Of the remainder Warm Order is proven over track and trip but is still higher than his last winning mark, while China Excels has managed a couple of placed efforts here before disappointing last time out.
Harwoods Star (WIN)
Our final selection also comes from Wolves in this class six Handicap. The only previous winner of the thirteen-strong field is Diminutive but that was in a seller and she has raced over the same trip seven times since without success.
Beta Tauri looks to head the market but disappointed favourite backers when she could only manage fourth at Kempton last month. With jockey Alistair Rawlinson claiming 5lbs and the Godolphin yard in good form she will likely prove popular with punters but there are a few who could also be open to further improvement and a chance is taken on an each way selection in Penelope Pitstop.
Penelope Pitstop showed her best form yet when finishing second here last month and has now placed twice from three runs on the Tapeta surface. She can effectively race off a lower mark today thanks to jockey G J Phillips 5lbs claim and this could help turn the tables in her favour.
Penelope Pitstop (E/W)