By Kevin O'Malley, www.tote.co.uk
I'm looking to the 4.55pm at Thirsk for the first of three selections, with the second pair set to head to post at Windsor this evening for their respective assignments.
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This Ruth Carr-trained five-year-old remains a maiden after 11 starts, but ALQAAB has nestled upon a fair opportunity for this return to the turf and he should have a sound chance at decent odds.
A classified stakes over the minimum trip, this race is restricted to horses rated 0-50. Alqaab is at the top end of that here - in fact, his mark has dropped from 62 to 50 in recent outings - so he just creeps into the race, but has clearly shown the ability to win a race of this kind in the past.
Alqaab ran to a relatively good level on the turf when last seen on it, finishing third behind Dahik over six furlongs at Redcar. A couple of outings before that, this time last year, coincidently, he ran very well at Doncaster over the five furlongs and a repeat of either of those turf efforts here would see him get into the frame.
With the likes of Dark Shot, Blue De Vega and Spoof in the field for this 5f handicap, there is no shortage of speed on show for the Class 3 contest. The outcome may well be decided on speed, but SECOND COLLECTION is an interesting one here stepping back in trip.
Tony Carroll’s four-year-old is a capable performer, albeit one who doesn’t always show her best. She ran poorly at Newmarket last time but shaped well on her seasonal return at Kempton and it’s worth noting a really good run in fourth of 16 here at Windsor last July, following two wins at the Royal venue earlier last season.
Second Collection’s handicap mark has trickled down by 5lb in recent outings and she’s likely to return to her favoured conditions today as an underestimated runner. Whether she’s able to bounce back from a poor run remains to be seen, but the stage is set if she’s in the mood. Hollie Doyle has won on the horse before and reclaims the ride today, with the pair looking nicely weighted on 8st 6lb.
HOLDENHURST faces a quick turnaround having run poorly first time out at Bath four days ago and, as such, is up against it for this six-furlong handicap. However, if you forgive that effort and focus on the best of the five-year-old’s form from last season, Bill Turner’s charge has sound claims here.
The grey may well need to drop a few pounds before being considered a strong betting proposition, but a mark of 63 is workable if he’s able to reproduce either of his most recent efforts at Wolverhampton and Kempton. Holdernhurst has raced on the all-weather for the most part, but he acts similarly well on the turf and in a weak race of this nature, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him run well.Get your free Racing TV fleece - the latest in our range of high-class Racing TV merchandise! Click here for more details.
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