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Race of the Day on Sky Sports Racing: Alice Haynes’ Strong Power fancied in wide-open Wolverhampton handicap

Sky Sports Racing’s Mike Cattermole has picked out a 6/1 bet in the feature handicap at Wolverhampton on Thursday.

THE GROUNDWORK

The Class Two BetUK’s Acca Club 5 Free Bet Handicap (7.15) over six furlongs on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton on Thursday evening is a standout on the card. Truth to tell, it is worthy of more than the reasonable £20,000 purse.

The majority of the field is made up of some well-known older sprinters but the top three in the weights are three-year-olds who have all been quite highly tried in their careers and are perhaps now being pitched in at a more realistic level.

Pace wise, look for early shows from Princess Shabnam, Tippy Toes, Bergerac and Aberama Gold, while the likes of May Sonic, Spangled Mac, Strong Power and Lequinto will be ridden more for luck as they drop in.

For Spangled Mac, being held up from a high draw might be a touch easier for him than Lequinto, who is drawn right next to the inside rail, and May Sonic in stall two.

THE LINE-UP

Princess Shabnam

The booking of the in-form 5lb claimer Adam Farragher is a big plus for this improving filly who won at Chelmsford in June (off 90, now 107) before building on that with some fine efforts, including in Listed company at Pontefract in August.

However, her most recent run was in the Group Three Bengough Stakes at Ascot when she finished last of 13 which was disappointing, even though she was a 33/1 shot.

This is her debut on the Tapeta surface.

Hierarchy

A pretty smart juvenile who was placed in both the Sirenia and Mill Reef Stakes before a creditable sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar.

Began the campaign with an excellent second in the Group Three Pavilion Stakes at Ascot but has not quite kicked on and his last run, on his handicap debut when last of 19 at Newmarket in July was too bad to be true. The fact that he has been off since then suggests that all was not well that day.

On the plus side, he has course-winning form (on debut), he goes well fresh, has a nice draw and is tactically versatile. Also, his mark has dropped to 102 from 108 at the start of the year.

An intriguing contender, although the Hugo Palmer stable has been pretty quiet on the winning front recently.

Tippy Toes

Not drawn as well as you’d have hoped from stall 10 but has an outstanding all-weather record with four wins from five starts. All of those outings have been on the Polytrack at Chelmsford which is at least the same way round as Dunstall Park.

She is only 3lb higher than when last successful over in Essex in August but although she has been highly tried since in a Group Three in Germany and Listed event at Ayr, she checked out quite quickly in both those events.

Bergerac

Tough campaigner who has a good draw to make use of his natural speed. He has been largely consistent all season, winning at Newmarket and York and was then not beaten far in the Ayr Gold Cup in sixth.

However, he took a backward step at York last time and the Kevin Ryan stable is going through an unusually quiet spell.

Image:
Bergerac and Tom Eaves hold off all rivals to take the opening race at the Ebor meeting at York.

May Sonic

Keen type who was in fine form at the end of last season but has been rather subdued in comparison this campaign. Came back after five months when well held at Chelmsford last time, a course where he has performed well before.

His mark has dropped from 104 to 97 and Charles Hills has been in good form this past week or so.

Spangled Mac

Drawn wide which isn’t great but he will be in no hurry to go forward early.

Was in splendid form this summer with four wins at Kempton, Yarmouth (twice) and Haydock and then posted an excellent second behind Adaay In Asia at Ascot.

His last two starts at York and Doncaster suggest perhaps that he has just gone off the boil as he makes his Tapeta debut.

Strong Power

Made great strides at the beginning of the year with three wins at Lingfield, all over the minimum trip.

His last two starts have been very respectable, especially when chasing home the smart Misty Grey at Chelmsford off this same mark and he hit the line well when fifth at Kempton last time in similar Class Two company to this.

Established hold-up performer who will need things to drop right but his stable has been in good form this week and I think he is a big player.

Dubai Station

Could easily be the blot on the handicap with his mark now down to 93 having been at 106 at his peak. He is actually closely matched with Strong Power on Chelmsford form in July and performed quite well here last time.

Versatile tactically, it is hard to be optimistic given the woeful form of the Robert Cowell stable which has been winnerless for the best part of the last two months.

Lequinto

A tricky ride who takes a strong hold, tends to hang left late on and needs finessing through his races.

Started as a sprinter, became a miler and is now back to sprinting. He goes well here with a record of three wins and two places from six starts and was in fine order in the summer with two wins at Windsor.

Did not get the best of runs in the Portland last time but he might just now be in the handicapper’s grip anyway.

Aberama Gold

Largely consistent and gained a deserved success at Ayr two starts ago, having run quite well in the Silver Cup there the previous time. His latest start was over seven furlongs and can be ignored as he does not stay.

Has run well here before on this surface but is fully exposed now.

Spring Bloom

All three of his wins have been at the minimum trip, including twice at Windsor in July, when he repeatedly swished his tail on the second occasion.

However, he does stay six furlongs and has been ridden with a bit more restraint of late. Denied a clear run two starts ago, his latest effort was a step in the wrong direction and this is his debut on the all-weather.

THE VERDICT

Quite simply, wide open!

Hierarachy is poised to take a step back in an upward direction, although his stable form is a slight concern. Dubai Station‘s chances have also to be weighed up in the knowledge that the yard is stone cold at the moment, but he is well treated.

I can see Princess Shabnam going well but the vote goes to STRONG POWER who is not thrown in but his second to Misty Grey at Chelmsford reads well in this context and Alice Haynes has bounced right back to form of late.

He does need a bit of luck in running, however.



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