Most horses that are turned out quickly, under a penalty, are attempting to take advantage of a handicap mark that will almost certainly be higher, once reassessed, and two such horses form the basis of this week’s ‘Deadly’ Double at Hamilton on Wednesday.
In the Racing to School Handicap (3.05), Final Venture reappears, under a 6lb penalty, just two days after making all to win a similar race, over 6 furlongs, at Carlisle. The Equiano gelding won over course and distance on his penultimate start, so dropping back a furlong or so in distance clearly isn’t an issue and the drop back into 0-75 shouldn’t do his hat-trick attempt any harm either.
In the next race, the St. Andrews Ambulance Handicap (3.40), Millefiori also reappears two days after winning at Ayr and appears to have an outstanding chance of completing a hat-trick under a 6lb penalty. Formerly with Hugo Palmer, the Mastercraftsman filly has really found her form for Adrian Keatley in recent weeks, winning twice at Ayr in the space of five days, and cannot realistically be opposed.
Selections: Hamilton 3.05 Final Venture, Hamilton 3.40 Millefiori, 1-point Win Double
In the 7.40 at Catterick on Friday, Rusty Rocket makes a quick reappearance after winning narrowly at Redcar on Monday and can defy a 6lb penalty. Paul Green’s seven-year-old drops back into 0-80 company under the welter burden of 10st 4lb, but apprentice Paddy Pilley takes off a useful 5lb and the son of Majestic Missile has won under 9st 7lb and 9st 9lb in the past. He’s on a career-high mark, but connections are clearly keen to strike while the iron is hot and the hint looks worth taking.
In the 8.10, Astra Hall won with plenty in hand over course and distance last month and can defy a further 8lb rise in the weights. Michael Appleby’s seven-year-old mare has yet to win on going faster than good, so connections will be hoping that the showers forecast for Wednesday and Thursday cause some easing of the prevailing good to firm going but, in any case, her one and only run on faster going was inconclusive. The daughter of Halling has yet to win off a mark this high, but has finally emerged from a lengthy spell in the doldrums and has looked better than ever since returned to turf last month. She has clearly struck up a good relationship with apprentice George Bucknell, who’s 2-2 on her, and the partnership can complete a hat-trick.
Selections: Catterick 7.40 Rusty Rocket, Catterick 8.10 Astra Hall, 1-point Win Double
In the Weekend Fillies’ Stakes (3.30) at York on Friday, Nemoralia was the comfortable winner of a nursery handicap, over 6½ furlongs, at Doncaster off a handicap mark of 87 when last seen in this country, but took her form to new heights in the United States last autumn. Her third of 14, beaten 1 length, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland last October is far and away the best single piece of form on offer and she can make a winning reappearance.
In the Yorkshire Cup (4.05) at York, Clever Cookie and Flying Officer were separated by just a neck in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month and, with the benefit of that run, and on 5lb better terms, the latter can reverse the form. John Gosden’s 6-year-old is equally effective at today’s shorter distance and, arguably, better suited by the prevailing good going than his old rival, so is quite a confident selection.
Selections: York 3.30 Nemoralia, York 4.05 Flying Officer, 1-point Win Double