SHANDOZ comes with risks, but is the play at 13/2 in Newbury’s TV opener this Saturday (1.50pm). He’s a delicate beast that has stood very little racing and has been off for ages, but he really was as shell of a horse when doing well as a three and four-year-old. He has reached physical maturity now, and has run a massive race each time he’s returned from a long break. Roger Varian tends to have them well ready for a first run back, and this distance looks tailor made for a fine staying prospect. His rivals are far from compelling, and he fits nicely in here on that old form.
DESPERATE HERO looks a perfectly feasible option at 9/1 in the sprint handicap (2.25pm) for a stable going well, and whose runners often slip under the radar. He’s very solid at this level, and followed a York effort that puts him right in this with a good run in terrible circumstances in JM Jungle’s race at Goodwood, when on the wrong side in the wrong ground. Tom Marquand has ridden him twice for form figures of 21.
LYNDON B is a mighty big price at 11/1, but there are loads of reasons for hope in the seven furlong race (3.00pm). For starters, he normally needs about three or four runs to work himself into form each season, and it normally coincides with his mark dropping to something like this. Secondly, Danny Muscutt is 2-4 on him (all other jockeys 2-29). In addition, he had a shocking trip in a comparable race at Newmarket last time, but for which he’d have been right in the mix. He’s now two pounds lower than when beaten a neck at this track 11 months ago.
MARBAAN could be the answer in the Hungerford (3.35) at 8/1. I don’t like his tendency to chuck in the occasional clunker, but there are no demons in the track or ground here, and the race will be set up for a finisher with Pogo likely to be well attended by a few milers coming back in distance – Chindit and first time headgear Mostabshir, for instance. This looks to play well for Jumby and the selection, but last year’s winner must concede the penalty to Marbaan and is rated only a pound higher, so the Fellowes horse gets the nod.
MASTERCLASS is the pick at 9/1 in the grey horse race at Newmarket (2.05pm). This is pretty competitive, but he bolted up in a bad race last time and has been quite lucky to get away with just a small rise. This is tougher, but that return to form coincided with a return to six furlongs and a sound surface, and he gets that combination again.
MARK’S CHOICE is probably ready for action again in the William Hill Silver Trophy at Ripon (2.40pm) at 17/2. Third in the Great St Wilfrid last year, he does much of his racing at this specialists’ track and quite likes it here, particularly if there’s a bit of juice in the ground. He’s handicapped to get involved and Dougie Costello, who has won on him twice, got back aboard last time.
BRAZEN BOLT is one out of the back the hand at 18/1 in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid (3.15pm). He has mainly been a steady achieving seven-furlong horse, but 2 of his last 4 victories have come at 6, and there’s just a chance he’s getting a bit better as a reinvented sprinter based on a really good career-best run at Doncaster two back which has worked out especially well. This is not the strongest running of this race, and he can give a bold showing.