I’m writing this column from a hotel in Sweden ahead of the second day of the Festival of Swedish Racing at Bro Park, where the Stockholm Cup is the feature event.
International representation on the card is strong, with seven British-trained runners taking their chance alongside raiders from France and Germany.
David Menuisier’s Thundering Blue is the star attraction and lines up in the big race at 4.17pm and that contest, along with the other three main races taking place, can be seen live on Racing UK this afternoon.
I’m here to watch Big Country take his chance in the Listed Tattersalls Nickes Minneslopning over a mile (2.15).
He’s travelled over well and seemed fresh and happy when having a canter around the dirt track yesterday morning, but ability to handle the surface is the unknown with him.
The German challenger, Wonnemond, boasts a rating of 114 and will be hard to stop if giving his running, but he’s also unproven on the dirt and it makes for an intriguing heat with the home team enjoying the advantage of being on home turf, or should I say home dirt!
Onto the action at home and three meetings in the UK today means it’s a bit of a busier Sunday than is often the case, though we’re still at the time of year where the jumps racing is on a back burner for me so I’m sticking to the action on the Flat at Hamilton.
Conditions will be testing at the Scottish track and an ability to handle conditions will be as important as anything.
Edgar Allan Poe rarely runs a bad race on deep ground and, having returned to form off a falling handicap mark when second in an amateur riders race at Carlisle last time, he looks ready to strike under optimum conditions.
Beaten by Warrior's Spirit, another weights-dropper in that Carlisle event, he’s attractively handicapped at present off a mark that’s 3lbs lower than his last win.
A winner over course and distance in July last year, he followed up at Pontefract on his next outing and on both occasions was ridden by Danny Tudhope.
This is only the third time since then that Tudhope has been aboard and his presence in the saddle is definitely a positive given his good record on the horse.
This looks a tight-knit fillies' handicap but it just might be worth taking a chance with Pattie, who may find this a shade easier than some of her recent assignments.
She’s been contesting some tough races of late and drops in to this level of competition for the first time in over a year.
A winner with give in the ground previously, she’s unproven on ground as testing as this but she stays well and her sire sixties Icon, has a good record with his progeny on deep ground and Pattie appeals as being on a fair enough mark at present.
Andrew Balding's three-year-old hasn’t always looked the most straightforward and he’s yet to win in six starts, but Soldier To Follow has shown enough along the way to suggest he can win races off his current mark.
Much better than the bare result when close to a strong pace in a race that was fought out by horses coming from the back at Newbury last time, the form of that race has since been boosted by Tapis Libre, another to sit too close to the front end, coming out to win on his next start.
Proven in testing ground, his trainer has an impressive strike-rate with runners at this track and currently has his team in great form. The early birds caught the worm at 5-1 on Sunday morning.
Chris Dixon's Sunday best bets:
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