A varied and competitive bumper card of eight races kicks off at Wolverhampton from 5.10pm on Thursday night, along with a more streamlined six race schedule up in Newcastle, with their Tapeta action starting at 5.30pm…
The 5.10pm at Wolverhampton is as modest as a gets quality wise, a Class 7 event with little inspiring form to work with, which leads one to think that Mark Loughnane’s LITTLE MISS KODI has an ideal opportunity to follow up her recent 7f Kempton success with another win here under a 6lb penalty. She benefited for the drop in the grade there, posting a respectable RPR (Racing Post Rating) of 57, backed up by a Topspeed figure of 53. A repeat performance would be enough to see off this poor bunch.
IT’S NOT UNUSUAL also runs under a penalty in Division 1 of the 1m Handicap at 5.45pm. Archie Watson’s inmate scored very handsomely at Chelmsford on October 25th and he’ll take some stopping under Edward Greatrex with his 5lb claim. Division 2 is a far more tricky looking race, so we’ll leave them to it in that one…
Aluqair and ANGEL ALEXANDER are closely matched on form in the 7.15pm Novice Stakes over 6f, but the latter named Tom Dascombe has the extra bit of experience which could prove the difference between this useful pair. He showed good pace to chase home Broken Spear in a Class 3 race at York last time out and if he handles the track here at Wolverhampton, he’ll take a world of beating.
In the closing event at 8.45pm, do keep an eye on Jamie Osborne’s in-form MONUMENTAL MAN, under the assured riding care of Dougie Costello. This 9yo veteran sprinter is in the form of his life right now and followed up his course and distance win here in late September, with another encouraging effort when 2nd at Bath last time out. The gelding has ran to RPRs of 72+ on his last four starts, but has a BHA handicap rating of 69 here, meaning there is a very good chance he remains dangerously well-handicapped if turning out in the same kind of form on Thursday night. There are several conceivable dangers, Royal Connoisseur and The Amber Fort perhaps the most pressing of them.
Up in Newcastle, Roger Charlton’s interesting newcomer HEADMAN is worthy of very close attention in the market for the 6.00pm Novice Stakes over a mile. His sire, Kingman, has an impressive 20% strike rate with his first season crop of 2yos, with 18 wins from 91 runs thus far. He has been particularly potent first time out runners, though is yet to have a winner (0/5) over a mile. Headman hails from a decent family on the dam side and the fact that he turns out so late in the year, is suggestive of a horse that should be well at home over 1m+. Perhaps he will be the one to get Kingman off the mark over this important distance for a horse of his profile, running in the famous colours of Juddmonte Stud.
In the last at Newcastle (8.00pm), Brian Ellison’s SKYVA has an interesting profile for this 14-runner handicap over 6f. The 4yo son of Dick Turpin was well backed to win at Wolverhampton last time out, but I don’t think they went fast enough for him to be seen to best effect in the closing stages. There will be more pace and emphasis on stamina in this field, while the addition of first time cheekpieces can help the 3yo focus his attention on the job at hand. He has fair experience of the track and perhaps a jockey change to Shane Gray could also spark an improved effort. It’s a hot race, but afforded a strong pace and a little luck, Skyva has it in him to go very well indeed.
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