Chris Dixon's top tips for Monday: Shield can fend off rivals at Leicester

By Chris Dixon
Mon 10 Jun 2019

It looks as though the wet weather is set to continue through this week meaning we could be in for an extended period of racing on easy ground.

Going conditions for Monday’s racing - at the time of writing - are more than likely to ease before racing, but it is hard to pin down exactly what the ground will be like at each of the venues at this stage.

However, I have gone for a quartet of horses that should at least handle some give underfoot and can hopefully turn a profit on the day. Best of luck.

5.00 Leicester: Star Shield at a general 4-1

A Redcar novice winner for Roger Varian last year, Star Shield hasn’t quite had the rub of the green on three starts for David O’Meara this season, but his last two efforts suggest he might well be an improving horse who is ahead of the handicapper.

Fourth at Musselburgh when short of room at a crucial point and finishing with plenty left in the tank, I fancied him strongly at Carlisle last time when he was badly hampered in a race that got messy as riders jostled for positions towards the stands' rail.

On both occasions, he has shaped like a well-handicapped horse and a 2lb drop in the handicap for his run last time has made that assessment more likely.

He has also shown form on good to soft ground previously and shaped nicely when seemingly in need of the run at this track on his return.

5.30 Leicester: Ifton at 9-1 with Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power

Ifton failed to fully build on a very promising debut for Henry Candy last year but took a step in the right direction on his first start since moving to Ruth Carr at Carlisle last time.

Dropped in right at the back of the field, he travelled well and kept on willingly for fourth despite being away from the favoured stands rail.

A well-bred horse, he should be much better than the mark he is on and shaped as though he could have a fair bit in hand last time, especially with a run behind him and, having handled soft ground well on his debut, any ease in conditions is unlikely to be an issue.

7.35 Pontefract: Caliburn at 3-1 with Bet365

Caliburn shaped well when finishing fifth in a very strong handicap at York on his reappearance, travelling well in midfield before making a challenge that got him upsides the leaders at the furlong pole before flattening out against some well handicapped horses.

Given that was his first outing in 264 days, and first run for Andrew Balding, there is every chance he improves for that run.

With his yard in excellent form and with Silvestre De Sousa, who boasts an excellent record at this track, aboard, he has very strong claims.

8.05 Pontefract: Highly Sprung each way at 8-1 with William Hill and Bet Victor

Highly Sprung boasts an excellent record at Pontefract - with his form figures at the track reading 21798113431 - and the return to this venue after being left poorly positioned at Carlisle last time is a big plus.

Third here three runs ago when caught out by the drop to 5f but finishing well, he got his head in front over course and distance off a mark of 69 and is only 3lb higher here which still leaves him well-handicapped on old form.

Black Salt appeals as a big danger but stall 13 is not ideal and, with Highly Sprung better-berthed in stall 8 and his consistency at this track taken into account, he looks like one to back each-way as trainer Les Eyre looks to win this race for successive seasons.

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