The 32Red/EBFstallions.com Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes (3.20) at Lingfield on Thursday is tricky, not least because the highest rated fillies in the field, Dusky Queen and Pack Together, have no form whatsoever on synthetic surfaces. Redkhat has a few pounds to find with the principals on official ratings, but has winning form on Polytrack and wasn’t beaten far in the Group 3 International Istanbul Trophy at Veliefendi in Turkey last month. The Shamardal filly has made steady progress on turf this season and may yet have more to offer.
In the Download the Ladbrokes App Apprentice Handicap (4.20) at Lingfield, Bookmaker has yet to win over 7 furlongs, but has no stamina issues and still looks well handicapped on his form over 6 furlongs. John Bridger’s 5-year-old is only 2lb higher in the weights than when winning a better race over 6 furlongs at the Surrey track in August and that form has been franked by the second, Monsieur Jamie, so he must have a decent chance.
Selections: Lingfield 3.20 Redkhat, Lingfield 4.20 Bookmaker (each-way double)
Oxfordshire trainer Charlie Longsdon has been an excellent source of winners for Richard Johnson in recent years and particularly so over the smaller obstacles this season. Johnson has an outstanding record of 12-23 (52%) on hurdlers for the yard, for a level stakes profit of 13.77 points, so we thought we’d use that statistic for the basis of our multiple bet this week.
The pair team up again for Western Miller in the Apollobet Online Games and Casino Novices’ Hurdle (2.20) and Shear Rock in the Apollobet Best Odds Guaranteed Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (3.25) at Carlisle on Thursday.
Western Miller was a beaten favourite for the second time in a ‘bumper’ at Worcester last month but, although unable to go with the winner, Wholestone, in the closing stages, still pulled 12 lengths clear of the remainder. That form has been franked by the fourth, Crimson Ark, who won a similar novices’ hurdle at Market Rasen last week, so the Wesetrner gelding may be able to get off themark over obstacles at the first time of asking.
Shear Rock is already 3-4 under Richard Johnson this season, but looked better than ever when winning in this grade, off a 6lb lower mark, at Fontwell three weeks ago and can complete a four-timer. All three wins this season have come on fairly sharp, or sharp, tracks, but he stays further, so should have no problem with this stiffer test of stamina.
Selections: Carlisle 2.20 Western Miller, Carlisle 3.25 Shear Rock (win double)
Brighton, with its pronounced gradients and marked camber towards the inside of the track in the home straight, is one of the more idiosyncratic racecourses in the country and, as such, creates its fair share of course specialists. With this in mind, we’ve selected three horses who’ve already won at the Sussex course this season as the basis for our multiple bet this week.
In the Caroline Walsh Memorial Handicap (5.20), French Press won over course and distance on just his second start for Michael Appleby in August and has since gone on to complete a four-timer. His progress has dictated a step up to 0-75 company, but the return to 7 furlongs, or thereabouts, won’t hurt and he can defy a 4lb rise in the weights.
Pour La Victoire has won four times at Brighton, but comes into the Blind Veterans Handicap (5.50) on the back of an uncharacteristically poor effort at Goodwood last month, where he took too keen a hold. Dropped in class, off a 1lb lower mark, he appears to have a decent chance of making amends.
Megalala is well into the twilight of his career, but has won no fewer than eight times at Brighton, between 7 furlongs and 1 mile 4 furlongs, and may be able to make it nine in the Mark Harrington Running New York Marathon Handicap (3.40). He escapes a penalty for his recent success in an apprentices’ handicap and winning jockey Chris Meehan can claim his 7lb allowance this time.
Selections: Brighton 5.20 French Press, Brighton 5.50 Pour La Victoire, Brighton 3.40 Megalala win Patent (3 x win singles, 3 x win doubles, 1 x win treble)