O'Meara to Bos the Great St Wilfrid
Jack Nicol provides a horse by horse guide to Saturday's William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon.
- Related Content
This former Stewards' Cup winner has gone off the boil since 2011 and it is interesting that trainer Mick Easterby reaches for the hood for the first time here.
It will have to work the oracle if he is to win off top weight and others are definitely preferred.
Kevin Ryan's seven-year-old returns from a 121-day absence here with this being used as a stepping stone for the Ayr Gold Cup where he will bid to defend his title.
The Kheleyf gelding is probably best watched as he has to carry a hefty 9, 8lb, whilst I'm sure his trainer will have left a little to be worked on ahead of the Scottish showpiece on the 21st September.
Old favourite Borderlescott is still looking for his first win since coming out of retirement and I think the eleven-year-old will have to wait a little longer before he gets his head in front again.
The Compton Place gelding ran well enough on his return at York in July but was never involved at Goodwood last time out, the step up to six frulongs will probably help here but I still think he is a little high in the handicap and I'm willing to dismiss his chances.
Louis The Pious
David O'Meara has won this race in the last two years with Pepper Lane and he bids to go for the hat-trick with Louis The Pious, who is one of his two representatives this year.
The five-year-old was a three and a quarter length third in this race last year and is back for more off a 3lb higher mark.
He is drawn well in stall 4 and arrives on the back of a decent run at Glorious Goodwood, I think he might just find three or four of these too good though.
Spinatrix absolutely loves Ripon and has remarkably been placed on all seven of her starts at the course including three victories.
She makes her first appearance in the Great St Wilfrid and clearly gets on with useful claimer Connor Beasley, who has won on two of the four occasions he has partnered the mare.
I can imagine the plan will be to make all from stall one and she is a major player here.
Prodigality is a horse that always seems to run his race and is a regular runner in these large field handicaps.
He was second in the consolation race last year and Ron Harris will be hoping he can go one better in the feature event this year.
Oisin Murphy takes a useful 7lb off his back and I could see him getting competitive from stall 13 having run well in the Sky Bet Dash at York two runs ago.
Secret Witness is another Ron Harris representative and I would imagine he is the stable's second string.
The Pivotal gelding has only run once here at Ripon and it was in this race last year, he finished a well-beaten fourteenth that day and with course form important at Ripon I am happy to dismiss the seven-year-old here.
A three-year-old hasn't won this race since 1999 and that was when Pipalong won under 9, 7lb for Tim Easterby, she eventually went on to win a Group One and I highly doubt Blaine is anywhere near that standard.
The Avonbridge colt has been highly tried this season having run in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood and connections clearly think the horse is talented but this will be another tough assignment and is one to be ignored.
Group One winner Regal Parade is in here off a handicap mark of 97, his lowest since August 2008, and could be one at a much bigger price especially with jockey Matthew Lawson taking an extra 5lb off his back.
His form of late has been poor but it has come in fairly hot company and this represents his easiest task since he won at Haydock earlier this season.
His course form is Ripon is poor but I wouldn't be surprised if he manages to cause a major upset here.
Tim Easterby's only representative this year is Confessional and I don't think he quite stays the six furlong trip.
His four successes have all came over five furlongs and I think he is one to oppose especially considering he was well beaten in this race in 2011.
He has failed to finish in the first three on all six starts this season and I fancy it will be seven after racing on Saturday afternoon.
Polski Max is the other three-year-old in this race and like Blaine I also think he will struggle.
Richard Fahey believes he is too high in the handicap following a decent start to the season but any rain would help the Kyllachy gelding.
He has disappointed in this three runs since his last win and I'm happy to rule him out here.
Dr Red Eye
Dr Red Eye is one of two horses in the race for trainer Scott Dixon and I think the five-year-old is his best chance in the race.
The Dr Fong gelding won three races in succession earlier this season and went up 17lb in the process, he has failed to win on three subsequent starts and the handicapper now looks to have him in his grip.
Rodrigo De Torres
Dandy Nicholls has two horses in the race and Rodrigo De Torres is one of his contenders with the Bahamian Bounty gelding earning a tilt at this race when winning the Scottish Stewards' Cup last month
The six-year-old has since finished a fairly average ninth in the Sky Bet Dash at York and whilst Toby Atkinson takes off a useful 5lb I still think the gelding will find it tough to win.
Baccarat is the current favourite for the race and it is easy to see why.
The Dutch Art gelding was very unlucky when hampered last time out and did well to a finish as close as he did. He dead-heated to win here at Ripon on his seasonal reappearance and then went on run to run well in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot but didn't quite see out the seven furlongs.
He is a course and distance winner here and the rain that has fallen is also in his favour and Richard Fahey's four-year-old surely has a massive chance of winning on Saturday.
Richard Fahey's five-year-old has been running well without quite getting his head in front recently, his consistency has seen him raised three pounds since the start of the year and this race doesn't look any easier than those he's so far contested this season.
He is a course and distance winner here at Ripon so that is a positive, he also has a good draw in stall 19 I could see him figuring granted a bit of luck in running.
Dandy Nicholls' other representative is Summerinthecity and he looks to be the trainer's first string with son Adrian taking the ride on the six-year-old.
He is well drawn in stall 18 and will look to build a very good run in the Sky Bet Dash at York last time where he was only beaten a short-head by the rapidly improving Tropics.
I think the Indian Ridge gelding has a good chance here and Nicholls will be hoping the gelding can give him a third win in the race.
Zacynthus is having his first run for trainer Kevin Ryan here whilst the Iffraaj gelding is also tackling six furlongs for the first time.
He has placed on his last three runs and is an interesting contender here but the drop in trip isn't certain to suit and I'm happy to oppose him here.
David Barron has been in good form of late and he has Pearl Ice entered here, the five-year-old has run well on both starts at the course (first and second) and has cheekpieces applied for the first time.
The Iffraaj gelding is 5lb better off with Spinatrix on their last run and you'd imagine he has every chance of reversing the form with the mare here given there was only half a length between them that day and that would make him a leading player here.
Thunderball is Scott Dixon's other representative here and the seven-year-old will need to bounce back to form if he is to figure.
He has done nothing since his win at Doncaster in March and his chances probably depend if there is any cut in the ground these days.
Even though he is back on his last winning mark and is a course and distance winner I can't see him winning this and is one to be dismissed.
Dick Bos is an interesting runner at the bottom of the weights for David O'Meara and his gelding is already a course and distance winner this season.
Four-year-olds have a decent record in the race and he is one of only two horses (Baccarat is the other) who represent that age group here.
His form has been solid since his last win, including a very good fourth in the Paddy Power Sprint in June and the Dutch Art gelding can go very close under Shane Foley here.
A competitive renewal which sees Richard Fahey's Baccarat at the head of the betting and the Dutch Art gelding has a very good chance.
The recent rain will have further enhanced his chances and you could arguably put a line through his last two runs where he was hampered at York and didn't quite stay seven furlongs at Royal Ascot the time before that.
I'm not sure the track at Ripon entirely suits the horse even though he is a course and distance winner and I'm willing to oppose him as he looks too short in the betting.
Spinatrix and Pearl Ice are closely matched on their last run with Pearl Ice 5lb better off here. David Barron's string are in good form at the moment whilst Michael Dods' mare absolutely loves the track and has a good draw, I think she will get the better of Pearl Ice once again.
Dick Bos is the selection though and the four-year-old can complete a hat-trick in the race for trainer David O'Meara who has won this in the last two years with Pepper Lane.
The Dutch Art gelding is a course and distance winner and has been running well in defeat lately and has enough speed to get into a decent position from stall 11 and I think he can win this off bottom weight.