I must confess that my selections were tough today and I start my preview off with a tricky all-weather contest to decipher.
It’s undoubted that course winner Alba Verde is the one they all have to beat in the penultimate race at Lingfield but at a price not far off even money there’s got to be better value.
Sticking with course winners and old stalwart Graylyn Ruby is still, at the age of nine, picking up the wins and has to be respected but I’m hoping its age will catch up with them today.
Still staying with course and distance winners and my selection is seven year old Dr Finley. The horse has won on these conditions before and is now two pound lower than its last win. An encouraging third placed finish last time out shows that it still retains ability and could go closer this time out.
Dr Finley (E/W)
My second selection comes in the last race at Nottingham in an open looking, seventeen runner, five furlong handicap.
I’m taking a bit of a punt by going with a horse that hasn’t finished inside the top three in its last eleven starts. That being said however the horses handicap mark has tumbled markedly as the Tim Easterby trained Hazelrigg now sits at twenty three pounds lower than its biggest winning mark.
The soft ground conditions shouldn’t be any great concern and if the nine year old retains any of its previous ability should have the beating of this company.
Of the remainder the most likely threats come in the forms of course and distance winning Oscars Journey and the Scott Dixon trained Sir Geoffrey.
It’s safe to say that none of the runners in this are models of consistency and a case can be made for the majority of entrants but as a decent each way bet I can’t overlook David Allan’s mount.
Hazelrigg (E/W if 5/1+)
My third and final pick comes in the final race of the day at Kempton’s evening card.
With four or five horses vying for the head of the market it shows just how open a race this is.
Distance winning Pelagian shows that it’s capable of getting its head in front so has to be respected but it’s form on an artificial surface leaves a lot to be desired.
Brett Johnson’s Satchville Flyer is somewhat interesting with the booking of jockey Richard Hughes, who I dare say doesn’t tend to stay this late for a ride. It could however just be a case that he’s looking for as many rides as possible to secure another jockeys title and you shouldn’t read into it too much.
My selection is going to be one of only two horses that already have wins over the distance to their name. An Irish import who has raced in much better company than this and is saddled for the first time by new trainer John Butler. The booking of Tom Queally is also a bonus and a decent fourth placed effort on the all-weather last time reads well. Succeed And Excel should be too much for its rivals in what looks a very open race to end the day.
Succeed And Excel (E/W if 5/1+)
by Rory Paddock