None of our selections gave us a return yesterday but there were some performances to note. Tarboosh was all dressed up with no where to go in the sprint at Epsom and both Shabeeb and Thundering Blue made good late gains but from too far off the pace at the same track. La Sioux was another to finish with a flourish, finishing fifth at Catterick. Viconte De Noyer was well beaten at Punchestown but did finish sixth which was a huge improvement on his recent form. Summer Getaway faded in the latter stages to finish fifth at Taunton.
1.30 – Beverley:
Rapid Applause. 1 pt win. Available at 12/1.
Gamesome. 0.5 pts e/w. Available at 22/1. (Marathonbet)
A competitive sprint opens Beverley’s card and with two non runners none of the layers are prepared to give a fourth placed concession. We will stick with our original choices and support them with small stakes. There looks likely to be a good pace put to this race and, given luck in running, it could be set up for a closer. Two that appeal at generous looking prices are Rapid Applause and Gamesome. Rapid Applause got competitive from much higher marks in Ireland last season and, although he is normally seen over further, this stiff track and a generous gallop, could see his stamina brought into play. He was well beaten on debut for current connections but that first race in six months on the fibresand will have blown away the cobwebs and he wouldn’t need to retain the level of his ability last year to get competitive in this grade. Gamesome doesn’t find winning easy, mainly because he races a bit too keenly at times, but he will be suited by a strong pace. He is likely to be dropped in from his wide draw, and will need luck in running, but he is very well weighted on several pieces of form on stiff tracks last season. He had a pipe-opener on the A/W earlier this month and sports the first time visor.
2.45 – Warwick – La Fille Francaise. 1 pt e/w. Available at 14/1.
La Fille Francaise may not have the best form to date but she looks open to the improvement she will require to get competitive. She has had just the four starts over hurdles but has progressed with each outing and it would be a surprise if her current mark was the limit of her capabilities. She has proven herself with cut in the ground and ran well here in a novice race last November. The booking of Jack Quinlan, who has a very profitable 17% strike rate for the yard is a positive and this is just the second start in a handicap for the Mare.
3.40 – Punchestown – Dara Tango. 0.75 pts e/w. Available at 20/1. (Skybet – 1/5 odds first 6)
A minefield for punters with twenty seven runners going to post. With such a large field a generous gallop looks almost guaranteed and that will suit the closers, providing they get the gaps when needed. Dara tango is now inot veteran status at eleven years olds but he had a two and half year absence from the track prior to returning in June of last year. Since then he has only been seen on the flat and he has shown enough to suggest he retains a large chunk of his former ability, If that is the case he is very well treated on this return to hurdles. He stays much further than this so the likely pace will be to his liking and he was last seen over hurdles not being beaten far in big field handicaps from much higher marks than he runs from here. His Trainer has proven himself adept at getting his horses well handicapped for races such as this, although the lack of apparent support in the early markets is a small concern.
4.15 – Punchestown – Three Stars. 1.25 pts e/w. Available at 10/1. (Generally available at 1/5 odds first 5)
4.20 – Beverley – Inflexiball. 1.75 pts win. Available at 7/1.
4.45 – Kempton – Alberta. 1.75 pts win. Available at 15/2. (Unibet)
6.05 – Punchestown – Stoneford. 0.75 pts e/w. Available at 20/1. (Paddy Power, Boylesports – 1/5 odds first 6)