A busy days racing on Friday. I've tried to limit the amount of selections, and I've fallen on three horses.
FRANTOIO was a NR at Yarmouth yesterday, as connections have decided to run in this race instead. That gives me the feeling that they feel like this is an easier assignment.
I find it strange that they've left the hood off him, as he wandered about last time out, which made it quite a hard ride for Shane Kelly; they must think the hood lit him up, so they've opted without it this time. Jamie Spencer takes the ride today, which is a positive sign, as if there's any jockey in the weighing room who will settle a horse, Jamie is your man. With that comes a risk that his run might come later than you'd like, but I think Jamie is the man for this horse, who seems tricky.
The form of last time out has worked out well, considering it was a four runner race. The winner has since gone close, going down by a neck in a Class 3 at Doncaster. The fourth horse has also franked the form by winning next time out. In terms of the race itself, like I mentioned previously, he wandered about, but stayed on strongly, and looked like a winner in waiting.
Jamie Spencer and David Simcock do well at Doncaster, both operating at 17% and 19% strike rates.
I was keen to back PORNSTAR MARTINI last time out, but rightfully I dodged that race. However, I did watch the race at the time and thought she ran a nice race, and she was probably in need of that run, and she'd be better next time out, which is today.
She won on her 2yo debut, doing it easily, winning by 3 lengths. After that, she was pitched into the deep end where she finished last in a Group 3. Her run last time out was her third ever start, and it was on the back of a 272 day break, where she weakened in the final furlong, which was probably due to fitness. The form of that race is working out really well, with the winner finishing 2nd and then he lost by 1.5 lengths at Royal Ascot in a competitive handicap, where Fantasy Master (4th in the race at Nottingham with Pornstar Martini), finished 3rd in the same handicap at RA. Also, the second horse recently won at Lingfield earlier in the week.
This is only her fourth ever start, so you'd expect there is still plenty of improvement to come from this lightly raced filly.
Advised: Each Way
A horse who I expect to be well backed is CLASSIC LORD. He recently finished a close second to John & Thady Gosden's Side Shot, who won impressively at Haydock yesterday. You'd have to say that the extra 2f which he encounters today will bring out further improvement, as he was staying on strongly over 12f around Chester.
He has been put up 1lb for that recent second place, which could prove to be quite lenient. Rob Hornby takes the ride, so in theory, Classic Lord is 4lb heavier than last time as William Cox was claiming 3lb at Chester. Despite this, I think he is still capable of winning a race like this, if the form is as strong as it looks on paper.
The ground will not pose any problems for this horse, as he won on heavy, and he seemed to handle the quicker surface lto. I think the track could suit, as he looked a strong stayer over 14f, so the stiff track over a longer distance will bring his stamina into play. The weight for age allowance makes his chances even better as he will be getting 14lbs from the older horses in the race, which is a lot of weight to give to an unexposed horse, who could prove to be a lot better than a mark of 85.