We begin todays’ preview with a class three fillies handicap at Ripon with nine runners scheduled to go to post. The selection for this race is current favourite Secret Hint who has an impressive turf record of two wins and one second from four attempts over todays’ trip. She made her first appearance for seven months at Wetherby last month and was beaten one and a half lengths in to second by the re-opposing Ridge Ranger. However, with a recent run under her belt and racing off the same mark today (Ridge Ranger has been raised by 7lbs) she should be in prime position to reverse the placings and emerge victorious.
Hopes N Dreams finished behind four of todays’ rivals when only fifth in the above race won by Ridge Ranger but ran out a convincing winner next time out. She has a win rate in excess of 25% over six furlongs and although raised 7lbs for her latest win she has won off higher marks in the past so has to be considered a threat, although a course and distance record of no wins from four attempts does dampen the enthusiasm somewhat.
Secret Hint (WIN)
For our second selection we visit Navan for a five furlong sprint and look to take on the early favourite with our selection Russian Soul. He arrives here on the back of a win at Dundalk over six furlongs and although raised 4lbs for that win he has raced competitively off higher marks in the past. He has a strike rate in excess of 60% for top three finishes when racing on turf and has also won on yielding ground over todays’ race distance so with conditions in his favour he looks to have a great chance of a placed finish at the very least.
His biggest danger looks to be Bubbly Bellini who is the forecast early favourite. He will likely be a popular choice for punters arriving here on the back of two wins from his last three runs, including a convincing win at Naas last month. However he is passed over today as he has a 7lbs rise to contend with and has a less than convincing record here at Navan, with no wins from five attempts.
On recent bare form (three consecutive seconds) Master Speaker looks worthy of a second glance and although running off the same mark again here today he is yet to record a victory in nine attempts over five furlongs and looks more likely to be fighting for minor honours again here.
At a likely larger price Shipyard cannot be discounted. He has been beaten by the aforementioned Bubbly Bellini and the re-opposing In Salutem in recent runs but is a winner over course and distance and boasts a 100% win record here at Navan with two wins from two.
Russian Soul (E/W)
For our final preview we visit Stratford for a class four handicap hurdle. Bold Conquest looks likely to head the market and will arrive here buoyed by a three length win last time out. He should be race fit with two runs in recent months but steps up in trip for todays’ race off a 5lbs higher mark and has only won once in thirteen career runs so is by no means a certainty to follow up here.
Billy Congo looks to make it a hat-trick of recent wins after victories at Bangor and Taunton respectively. He is another who attempts a step up in trip off a higher mark and as a result preference is for Finish The Story.
The selection reverts to hurdles after posting two wins from six over fences and can race off a 5lb lower mark today. His last attempt over hurdles was in September 2014 when winning on good ground over todays’ race distance, a win which was his second in a run of three wins. With an overall strike rate of almost 54% for top three finishes he seems the logical choice for another top three finish at the very least.
Finish The Story (E/W if 5/1+)