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Preview - 03 June 2008

3.30 Nick Willmott Memorial Handicap Sprint 6F Soft

Horses to consider

Swimbrook – Likely to be favourite for this handicap for the Fahey team who are well respected in handicaps around this area and their horse that has got form at class 3 level gets large amounts of weight from his most feared rivals in this race. Under these conditions the weight he receives could well be the deciding factor for this horse that has been knocking on the door in recent weeks. The performance at Doncaster behind Geojamli reads well in the context of this race and he certainly should have a chance of reversing the form with Valery Borzov on this soft surface from the last time out. The Ripon track should suit him and as long as he settles into his race he should go close with a strong pace assured with a couple of front runners in the race.

Valery Borzov – With the flying form of the Nichols sprinters so far this season it would be wrong for their representative in this race not to make the shortlist in what is a half decent tight handicap sprint. The handicapper has taken little chance with this horse for that win and the 10lbs rise in the weights could well be enough to be against him in these more testing conditions. Showed on debut that he handles the softer conditions but that was in a average maiden at Catterick beating a fairly known dodge pot that day. The win last time at Thirsk was impressive and the fact he had a few of these behind that day adds to the chances of this horse. However the ground was quicker that day and I am not sure that these more testing conditions will help him as he needs to be at his best to defy the weight rise today. The horse is going the right way and will find more improvement but it may not be enough to defy the conditions today.

Rising Shadow – Changed handler after a disappointing effort at his beloved York back in October and has been hard to win with in the last twelve months for both trainers. The run back in April at Pontefract however gives his supporters some hope as he showed a glimmer of form that day staying on well of a mark of 98 and has since tumbled to a mark below his highest winning mark of 93. Weather he is ready to bounce back to winning ways for his new handler is the question and looking at what he has to face in what is his lowest rated race for some time suggest that he should be able to come home well enough to land this race on a track that is ideally suited his style on running. The pace is likely to be strong enough for him to strike off and he isn’t burdened with top weight even though higher enough in the weights. Should improve on that Pontefract form as he has achieved around a stone better run then in his last 6 runs when going close enough at Doncaster in a listed race on first start for this yard.

Bel Cantor – Another horse that could well cut out the running having shown in the past that he has a lot of speed on testing ground such as this when he was progressing through the ranks for his current trainer. Another horse that will benefit for these more testing conditions underfoot, he ran a cracker at this track when finishing 3rd Tajneed who looks set to be as sprinter to follow on testing ground throughout the summer. Well weighted in this field to give a bold show, he battled on well when contesting a fairly decent handicap at Doncaster on good to soft ground that day, the more testing conditions should improve this horse on that performance and if he can shake off the attentions on Valery Borzov on this ground there is no reason why he can’t make the frame in this handicap today.

Graze on Gold Blend – Hard to know what to expect of this horse as he has dropped down to a attractive handicap mark for this race, but the run last time was to bad to be true as he never got any nearer then last and was more or less tailed off. That was first run of the season and John Quinn is a master at getting them back to form. Barely raced last season, you have to go back to his 3yo days where he won in good style over course and distance from come out fighting. Market information would be the best clue as to his chances on his first start back at his favourite course since setbacks.

Verdict – only eight runners go to post and with the rain around I hope today I have predicted the ground correctly after Windsor last night being no where near what I had anticipated. Swimbrook has everything in place to reverse the form with Dandy’s runner even though he was maybe worth a few extra pounds in hand when landing that race and if the ground was drier then he would have had every chance of defying the 10lbs rise in the weights. Bel Cantor will love the ground along with Rising Shadow who has potential to bounce back to his best form and take this for the new yard. However he may need to be lowered a few more lbs as I wouldn’t have thought David Barron would have been too keen to get rid of a talented horse unless he feared he would no longer be making hay for the yard. Graze on Gold Blend should be noted.

Advised Bet Bel Cantor 2 pts win @ 12-1 (13’sBF)

Best of luck all

Well Chief