Another Saturday, another very tough handicap but increasingly over the years these trainers are defying big weights, long absences and injury setbacks to score with horses you would have avoided like the plague ten years ago.
Another such runner goes in the Old Newton Cup in the shape of Godolphin’s Atty Persse, here’s how he figures in our shortlist:
A similar gamble to Roger Charlton’s Withhold is taking place and with that one safely in the bag following last weekend’s Northumberland Plate win you can see why the bookies are backing off his runner this time.
This Frankel colt will be having only his seventh ever start and looks sure to improve plenty, making his handicap mark of 99 look a little silly to be honest.
Whether he’s truly ready first time up to do himself justice in this is open to debate, as is booked jockey Jamie Spencer’s riding style in terms of its suitability for this race given his penchant for always riding out the back before coming late.
It’s now seven seconds in 10 runs for this horse, a touch of ‘seconditis’ perhaps, but there is no doubt he has it within him to take a hand yet again in the finish and he cannot be ruled out.
A return to a mile-and-a-half after his exploits at Newmarket looks sure to suit and it’s a huge opportunity for jockey Nicola Currie to strut her stuff on the big race scene.
Mark Johnston has a pretty strong hand here and this Rainbow Rebel has to be considered a leading light given what he achieved in winning over a shorter trip at Pontefract.
The step up in distance is fine for him and under Joe Fanning he is bound to be given the best possible chance of taking this prize, though I’d like it if he were a little better handicapped.
Another Mark Johnston runner and this time one who won easily over this course and distance two outings ago.
After an unsatisfactory start to the season this 4yo gelding has definitely got the hang of things now and there could be plenty more to come from him, certainly under Slivestre De Sousa on the day he will not be lacking for strength in the saddle either.
Local trainer Tom Dascombe knows what it takes to win around here and he will have plotted this race out for this talented middle-distance horse before his striking win at Newbury.
In a small field he dominated proceedings that night and although he won’t be able to do that against a bigger, more talented field this time, his running style will once again be an advantage at this track and nobody is better and making the most of it than jockey Richard Kingscote.
Kingscote scooted clear aboard Sofia’s Rock for the Johnston yard but of course is retained by Tom Dascombe and so is claimed for this horse, an improving son of Teofilo who clearly is well handicapped based on the ease of his success last time out. Every chance.
We can upgrade the performance of Andrew Balding’s filly when running third in a Listed race at Pontefract behind Isabel De Urbina last time out as she was blocked in and had to wait for her run.
She travelled like a very good filly that day and it’s interesting to see her in a handicap, though this poses as many problems as it does positives.
She could be better than most of these, however off a mark of 96 she’d be no good thing against a tough field and so while sure to go well, she may be booked for place money under David Probert.
While ordinarily I’d be loath to take the shorter price when getting it so close between two contenders in a big handicap, I just can’t get away from how good ATTY PERSSE could prove to be at middle-distances and so in the hope his price doesn’t collapse further he is the selection ahead of Teodoro.
Presumably connections know full well the need to be up with the pace when the race gets going in earnest and so backing a horse ridden by Jamie Spencer in these circumstances is a calculated risk, however he should have enough class to bypass the Tom Dascombe runner and score.