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The Price Is Right: Broken Spear looks capable of hitting target

Tue 14 Jul 2020

By Kevin O'Malley www.tote.co.uk

Catterick stages a nine-race card on Wednesday, with a nice variety of contests for punters. I’m looking to the competitive handicap action on show in search of value.

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12.45 Catterick: MILITIA

Paul Midgley’s MILITIA is burdened with 10st 1lb but he is a pacey horse who is racing from a low stall and he could draw the sting out of this field.

He did dive out to his right when third at Hamilton last time out and could do without doing that here. That aside, though he is a little exposed, the five-year-old would appear to have decent each-way claims in this Class 5 heat over five furlongs.

Midgley runs three others, too, and with that in mind, it will be interesting to see which way the betting goes, but MILITIA is generally a straightforward performer in this grade and, although hard to catch right, he does know where the winning post is. A mark of 74 is more than workable if he fancies it.

1.20 Catterick: IRISH MINISTER / MR NICE GUY

Taking on a Sir Mark Prescott’s shortie will often see you come up short in the hunt for a winner.

However, his Pleasure Garden is worth opposing in this 1m6f handicap. He was a smooth winner over 12 furlongs at Leicester last time and a 5lb rise doesn’t present any immediate threat to his ability to progress again. However he is stepping right up in trip at a different track on a different day, he’ll be short enough and does have a few legitimate conceivable rivals.

IRISH MINISTER finished second here from 1lb lower last time out and it was the first hint in a while that the horse is in a bit of form. Around this time last year, he was posting form ratings suggesting he could be competitive from handicap marks in the mid-50s or more. So a mark of 49 here on the back of a decent run makes him an interesting place contender.

Clare Hobson’s MR NICE GUY is likely to be a bigger price and he may just take a few runs to get going. He does have the services of Paul Mulrennan, though, who is in-form and rides Catterick very well. He flopped at Lingfield when first stepping up to 1m6f, but Mr Nice Guy is probably worth another try and a visor is tried for the first time.

2.50 CATTERICK: BROKEN SPEAR

The last time BROKEN SPEAR ran at Catterick, he was backed from 66-1 into 18-1 from the opening show to race time, but was struck into and couldn’t land a blow. Prior to that, Tony Coyle’s inmate finished a one-paced third over five furlongs here, a trip the horse is well accustomed to.

It could be that Broken Spear doesn’t get home well enough to win races at six furlongs, but equally he has no real miles on that particular clock and there are fair reasons to suggest Catterick is a track he can grow to like.

A BHA rating of 83 provides the horse with little room for error, but he is an interesting contender here under Barry McHugh. This horse isn’t without ability and just needs to find his niche.

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