The return of the Racing League on ITV4 this evening but we begin our preview to today’s racing at Nottingham where conditions were described as good on Wednesday morning.
CHICKEN ITZA is bred to be smart and has been given ten weeks off since disappointing at Haydock back in May when very well supported. The filly promised to be well served by the step up in distance, and I thought she ran well on both juvenile starts especially when staying on well back in third over 7f at Newcastle back in September.
She is not exactly thrown in on her handicap debut, but she is bred to be smart, and connections will be desperate to get a 1 next to her name for the breeding sheds. Richard Kingscote returns to the saddle having missed the ride back in the spring and the hope is that the filly has thrived in the period she has been off the track.
Danza Della Luna has been raised 8lbs for running away with a Pontefract handicap on fast ground last month, but that was a slowly run affair and I’m not convinced it was the strongest of races although the form has not yet been tested.
I am sure BIBULOUS (Nap) will get further than six furlongs going forward as he settles much better now than was the case when he tried to make all over an additional furlong at Wolverhampton last year. Little Muddy made all at Ayr last week and the selection is drawn next door to Seb Spencer’s penalised runner and the hope is that Dane O’Neill can follow him through and strike fast and late.
Nicola Currie rode a treble at Carlisle on Monday in their all-female jockey card, but it was not her finest hour when she finished third on the selection – constantly denied a run – over C&D last month and I am treating Bibulous as a winner without a penalty.
Veteran trainer Henry Candy has not had the best of seasons but, at the time of writing, he has had two winners from his last six runners – the other four ran poorly – and I do feel there is more to come from Bibulous from his current mark.
Alongside tomorrow’s Brighton Bullet the Challenge Cup is the highlight of the three-day festival at the south coast and ten go to post for today’s feature.
If Percy Jones copes with the fast ground, he looks sure to go close for Hughie Morrison with Benoit de la Sayette taking off a valuable 5lbs. The selection has run very well on soft ground in both starts since being gelded including over an additional quarter of a mile in a valuable Haydock handicap last time. He could be well ahead of his current mark, but I am pleased to see Trevor Whelan reunited with CHERRY COLA and she gets the each way vote.
The mare has finished second and third in her two starts at today’s track and I thought was a shade unfortunate not to score in an amateur riders’ event here earlier in the summer. This 12f is her bare minimum trip, however, and, if they go no gallop, she is unlikely to get involved but the hope is that Fairmac and/or Bakersboy ensure a decent test.
Given she does stay further I wonder if connections might consider going forward themselves on the mare if there is no pace. It is a cracking handicap, and she might be overpriced at 14/1.
Top-weight Good Birthday was taken out of a race at Goodwood last weekend on account of the fast ground, but he looks sure to run a big race in the concluding race of week one of the Racing League, but preference is for PLEDGE OF HONOUR from the foot of the weights.
The selection has returned to his best form this summer having won three of his last five starts including at Sandown last time from just a 2lbs lower mark. Nicola Currie takes the ride, the 6-y-old is well drawn in stall five and there is plenty of pace in the race which suit his style of racing.
Matchless helped force too strong a pace at Ripon last time and did well to finish third in the circumstances. He is considered the main danger in the finale.
FULFILLED looked an unlucky loser at Wolverhampton on his first start of the year back in May but put behind that run when scoring at Newmarket from a 3lbs lower mark last month.
Island Bandit made all to score last time and he should guarantee a decent test which should suit David Simcock’s gelding who may have most to fear from Snapcrackleandpop, another who has gone from the front in the past.
Granted a decent gallop I do expect Fulfilled to be tough to beat.
* Odds subject to changes