Racing tip of the day
Matt Brocklebank provides today's tip of the day from the sportinglife.com racing team and is backing William Haggas to enhance his fine record at Ripon.
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Tip of the Day - Westerly (Ripon 7.40)
While this afternoon's meetings at Ayr and Newton Abbot make a degree of appeal in their own ways, I'm heading to Ripon tonight for the best bet of the day and putting all my faith in one of William Haggas's two runners on the card.
Westerly can be numbered among nine winners the Newmarket handler has had in the past fortnight alone and the whole Haggas team will no doubt be bouncing after Mukhadram opened his Group One account in Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
The Follow @Attheraces On Twitter Handicap is in a world away from the weekend feature, though a small but select field has assembled for the mile and a half contest for three-year-olds.
Six fillies are joined by the 14-race maiden gelding Brownsville, and it's Westerly who looks best equipped for the job.
With the knowledge of what has since transpired, it's no surprise the daughter of 2006 Arc hero Rail Link struggled when sent off a 50/1 shot for her belated racecourse debut over 10 furlongs at Lingfield in May (click the link to watch the free video replay).
The second, Scallop, and fourth home, Allegria, are now both rated in the mid-80s following subsequent maiden victories, while the fifth that day was Potent Embrace, who looked a shade unlucky to be mugged on the line at Haydock on Friday.
Westerly did, however, prove herself to be an extremely fast learner as less than a month after that baptism of fire she defied odds of 16/1 to win a Pontefract maiden in decent style, beating the more-experience and 82-rated Smiling Stranger by a length and a half.
Even accounting for the favourite being a shade below expectations that day, the selection has the look of a horse on a steep upward curve and her initial handicap rating of 71 appears more than manageable.
One slight concern at the back of my mind is whether or not she will act on the unique cambers of Ripon's home straight, but Haggas has saddled four winners from just seven runners at the track this season (12-35 past five years) and clearly has a good idea which of his horses are going to handle it.
Button Down is the principal threat having finished second to the aforementioned Allegria at Haydock last time, but that represented a step backwards following a good third over a mile and a quarter at Salisbury and question marks remain over her stamina.