Leicester Preview – Sunday 10th August 2014
Leicester’s meeting on Sunday, like that of Windsor, has been hit by heavy rain this morning, and it remains to be seen how testing conditions will be, and indeed how many defectors there will be as a result of any going change. I will assume that the going will be somewhere between good to soft and soft based on the reported rainfall this morning.
2.00 – 2-y-o Maiden (7f)
It seems foolish to oppose Good Contact here, particularly in light of how the form of his debut second has worked out (the quartet immediately behind him who have raced since were all next-time-out winners, and the form has real depth to it. That effort came on easy ground, and with the undulations of Leicester not dissimilar to those at HQ, he looks to have all bases covered. Mutasayyid looks the best bet for those looking for an each-way option, as Richard Hannon’s juveniles rarely need a run, and he has sent out a pair of first-time winners at Newmarket (also had the runner-up in one of those races) in recent days, which augurs well for the chances of his runner here. Wonder of Qatar also represents the East Everleigh handler, but he looked uneasy on the track at Chepstow last month, and this undulating track would also be a worry in that regard.
2.30 – Selling Stakes (7f)
None of these has a win on easy ground, and it’s clearly one for the needy and greedy only, with Cape of Hope perhaps the best equipped to handle conditions.
3.00 – 3-y-o+ Handicap (1¼m)
It’s easy to forgive Headline News a poor run on firm ground at Ascot last time, and the more rain that hits the Oadby venue today, the better her chances will be in this 1¼m handicap. Rae Guest has always been a dab hand with fillies and mares, and while this daughter of Peintre Celebre has yet to catch light this year, she was ahead of the opposing Monsieur Rieussec at Windsor on her return, and is more than capable of building on that with conditions holding no terrors. She needs a strong pace to be seen to best effect, and should get that courtesy of front-running duo Artful Prince and Gothic. The latter would be a danger if seeing out this trip given that he’s proven at the track and on testing ground, but he looked stretched by the extra yardage at Sandown last time, albeit with first-time blinkers perhaps not helping.
3.30 – 3-y-o Handicap (6f)
With Michael Bell hitting full stride this week (four winners from last 15 runners and two others beaten under half a length) then Piazon is worthy of close attention in this sprint. He’s been campaigned at five furlongs this season but won over this trip as a 2-y-o, and there seems no reason why he won’t be as effective here. Acts well with cut in the ground (1221 on good to soft/soft ground) and takes a step back down in class here after a very good effort at Ascot. A tendency to hang left is a slight worry but it doesn’t stop him and the young apprentice on board knows him well, having won on him twice, so that’s less of a worry still. The other who looks too big here is Sylvester Kirk’s Groundworker, who is also suited by plenty of cut and looks to have been crying out for a return to 6f of late given how well he’s been staying on in his races. He ran a rare poor race last time when unable to go the gallop on fast ground at Sandown, but he can usually be relied upon to run to his best, and should appreciate the conditions better than most.
4.00 – 3-y-o Handicap (6f)
Another 6f handicap confined to 3-y-os, and there is again a paucity of soft-ground form on offer. Favourite Castorienta is best on a sound surface, it seems, while Bold Spirit handles ease, but looked less than straightforward when third at Doncaster on his latest start. He has place claims, but an awkward head carriage suggests he’s best utilised as a forecast mixer rather than for win purposes. Pennine Warrior ran well in similar conditions at Redcar yesterday, and has yet to be taken out, so needs consideration if that signals an intention to run. Clever Miss has a rare run without headgear, and is a potential surprise package if able to poach a lead. She’s ridden by Danny Brock, who has impressed with his judgement of pace from the front (rode a double at Yarmouth on Thursday) recently, and might just be able to get a tune out of this quirky filly. In a race where few convince for various reasons, she may be worth a small investment.
4.30 – 3-y-o+ Handicap (1m)
Sweet Martoni is one that won’t mind a downpour, having been reinvented as a miler this season after being raced almost exclusively over middle distances last season. He’s a straightforward ride, being a front runner, and seems to be improving now he’s found his optimum conditions. His form of his last run stands up well enough, with the third and fourth both winners on their next runs, soft ground is no problem, and in a field where plenty will struggle on the ground is worth a bet. Rocket Ronnie is one I’ve had on my radar all season, and he bounced back to form when runner-up at Beverley last time. He handles some ease, but has been raised a few pounds for that narrow defeat, and I’m not sure he’ll have the race run to suit here (been held up all season, but his wins have come when able to race on the lead, and there are other pace angles here, including Sweet Martoni, to spoil things for him.
5.00 – 3-y-o+ handicap (5f)
Majestic Manannan is the obvious one after bouncing back to form at Pontefract last time, but he may not find it so easy to dominate here with Pull The Pin and Minty Jones in opposition. The last-named is the biggest price of the trio, but could be the one to be with should the rain continue, and he put up a career best to win on heavy ground at Chepstow in May. Mick Mullineaux has been struggling of late, but Two Turtle Doves landed something of a touch at Haydock on Friday evening, and perhaps the yard is turning a corner.
By Rory Delargy
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