Sharp to make a point at Newbury
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's terrestrial TV action from Aintree, Doncaster and Newbury.
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Bob's World did well in his first season over hurdles, winning at Huntingdon and Sedgefield. The second of those victories came on heavy ground so conditions will hold no fears for Jennie Candlish's four-year-old who was also a good second to the smart Ptit Zig at Sandown in April. Karinga Dancer won a bumper and two hurdle races at the start of the year and may have more to offer but with more rain forecast IFANDBUTWHYNOT will be in his element. Successful at Newcastle and Cheltenham around this time last year, he's fairly treated and could be another winner for man-of-the-moment AP McCoy. Mwaleshi has a welter burden to defy on his reappearance while Liberty's Gift has more on his plate than when successful at Tipperary but Bygones Of Brid could figure back over hurdles.
Trading Profit won a match at Leicester as he liked but had earlier finished behind Morning Post. The latter has decent claims back over 7f and can reverse earlier running with Kickboxer. The unbeaten Piping Rock scored in heavy ground last time and should have the measure of stablemates Day Of Conquest and Anticipated, but something was amiss with Lyn Valley at Newmarket last month. Invincible Strike makes more appeal than Extra Noble and Cordite but GALIWAY gets the vote. An easy winner at Saint-Cloud on his debut, despite the narrow winning margin, it will be no surprise if the French raider proves good enough in this better company.
Three-year-olds have a very good record and Sir Michael Stoute won it in 2011 so Centred is on the short-list despite finding 1m6f on heavy ground against him at Salisbury. Ennistown handles any ground and is equally at home over 1m2f or this trip so neither ground nor the pace of the race will be a concern. THOMAS HOBSON takes a step up in grade and is 6lb higher after his Goodwood victory but there's more to come and he's handed the vote. Semeen has won four of his 10 races but never on ground with some give so his ability to act on the surface has to be taken on trust. Nicholascopernicus is the only course and distance winner and all of his best form has been on soft ground so he's another to keep on the right side while Van Percy has been going well enough in similar class to have a chance with his low weight.
Prince Bishop pipped his more strongly-fancied stablemate Royal Empire at the post in a Group 3 at Kempton. Masterstroke was well beaten in the same race and Saeed Bin Suroor's charge should go close given he's perfectly at home in soft ground. However, a chance is taken that there's more to come from Listed winner NICHOLS CANYON having scored in soft ground at Ascot earlier this month and he gets the nod. Sugar Boy has every chance on his best form though his recent efforts are a worry and he was well beaten once again on his debut for Marco Botti at Goodwood. Quiz Mistress picked up a Listed race in France and makes more appeal than Model Pupil and Cubanita.
Astracad ran well for a long way when fifth at Cheltenham last week, though may be better over shorter trips. Wishfull Thinking won a Grade 2 over track and trip a couple of years ago and is 4lb lower than when runner-up in this 12 months ago while Oiseau De Nuit and Edgardo Sol are other course winners, though both are probably better over 2m. WALKON was second in the Paddy Power last year on his reappearance and didn't run a bad race over fences after that, finishing runner-up in another Grade 3 at Cheltenham before a fifth behind Carrickboy at The Festival and another second in the Topham over the Grand National fences here in April. As he goes well fresh, he is taken to gain a deserved victory. The bottom four are all racing from out of the handicap but Saint Are likes it here and could be a factor if there is a strong pace.
Take Cover hasn't had much racing for his age but is making up for lost time and had Kyleakin Lass and Pearl Blue in the places when scoring at York. The first two are not so well drawn as the third, who will love the ground, and he can take his revenge. Jamaican Bolt finished runner-up in this last year and, though behind in that York event, is lightly-raced this campaign and should be at his peak. Valbchek got no sort of run over 6f at York last time and his close fourth in a Newmarket Listed contest puts him in the picture but in an incredibly difficult race for punters it's STEPS, who landed a Listed contest at Ascot earlier this month and loves soft ground, who is given the verdict.
Hi There has strong claims on his nose defeat of Beaumont's Party in soft going at Ayr. He can effectively race off a lower mark with an apprentice's claim taken into account though he found SAM SHARP too good at York in August. The latter is back on a soft surface for the first time since that success and Ian Williams' charge may just have the edge. Break Rank almost defied a 5lb rise for his win at Epsom when going close on the Polytrack last time but Cashpoint would prefer faster ground. Tigers Tale and Mister Music are others who may find the going a problem and have shown their best so far over shorter trips
This looks well up to standard. Johnny Murtagh has had a wonderful season and Altruistic deserves his place in the line-up after a good run behind Geoffrey Chaucer at the Curragh where the ground may have been too quick. The winner is trained by Aidan O'Brien, who has three entries here. CENTURY was very impressive on his debut at the Curragh and, as he's the pick of Joseph O'Brien over Johann Strauss and Buonarroti who are both capable of improving on what we've seen so far, he gets the vote. Somewhat and The Grey Gatsby have the form for this if the going turns heavy while the unbeaten Chief Barker has done everything asked of him including on soft ground at Haydock last time. Pinzolo will need to improve from his two victories but there's every chance he'll do so and Godolphin are finishing the season with a flourish, while Kingston Hill has looked very impressive in his two starts and will take all the beating with further progress guaranteed.