Unfortunately the trend of a slow start to each month seems to be continuing into the start of July, with a poor day registered at Wexford this evening. It was a card that never got going for me, with the early Non-Runner in the first race not helping. There were three lacklustre performances from my selections. We have to just accept the poor day and hopefully rectify it on a busy Saturday, where I have plenty of choices to choose from.
As you can probably guess, I tend to side with National Hunt racing whenever it is available to me. I will have a few selections from Bellewstown later in the piece, but I’m starting with a selection from Sandown. Going into this year, I thought that Third Kingdom (4.45 Sandown) might be one of the best handicapped horses in Britain on the flat. He proved me very wrong with an underwhelming performance on reappearance at Doncaster over 1 mile. However, he steps back down in trip to 7 furlongs today and faces a sounder surface. Some of this 2YO form looks smart now and this mark of 88 should not be behind him. At a price of 7/1 with Bet365 with 3 places available, I make him an each-way selection.
However, after a brief dalliance into the flat action, it’s no surprise to see me target this Bellewstown card tomorrow, searching for winners. The 5.05 is a good standard maiden hurdle over 2m1f. I quite like Kendancer in this, who will be making his first appearance on the track for a long time. Trained by the new license holder, Cathal Byrnes, this horse runs very well when fresh and can be respected on this ground. He threw a few maidens away last year with some sloppy jumping, and if that has been rectified, must have enough in the tank to show up in a race like this. At 12/1 with Paddy Power for 3 places, I’ll back him each way.
The 5.35 is the feature race on the card, with the Bellewstown Handicap Hurdle providing a big pot to the winner. I am quite keen on Winner Takes Itall for Joseph O’Brien and Simon Torrens. Seen to best effect on this better ground, you can forgive this horse for his last two starts over hurdles during the winter. He ran well last time out in the summer over hurdles and his flat rating would indicate that 119 should well be exploitable. He is near the bottom of the weights in this race and seems to have a strong each way chance. At a price of 8/1 with Bet365 with 3 places available, I am going to back him each way.
The 6.05 at Bellewstown looks like a competitive mares maiden hurdle. WIth not too much form to rely upon with some of these horses, I am going to take a chance on the improving Say Goodbye, for the inform Denise Foster. This mare turned a corner last time out when putting in a good performance in second behind Bonarc, and that form would leave her with a big chance in this. The step up in trip should suit her very well indeed and with more improvement to be made with her jumping, she should take the necessary step forward to win a contest such as this. At a price of 10/3 with Bet365, I will be having a bet.
Finally, I have casted an eye over the 6.35, which looks one of the trickiest races on the card. The good thing about competitive handicaps is the prices you can procure and sometimes good each way terms are available. I am going to be taking a chance on Saga Aravis in this, who comes into this after an eye-catching run at Navan last time out. Having been given far too much to do in a 2m contest, he flew home for fifth. That performance means he has to be taken seriously on this step back up to 2m4f. It remains to be seen whether that effort can be backed up, but at a general price of 11/1 with 4 places available, I’ll take that chance.