HEADING to Ripon with my soon-to-be wife-to-be – and with competition winners Richard Hellowell and Steve Hudson counting on me for winners – the pressure is on ahead of tomorrow’s fixture at Yorkshire’s Garden course.
The bad news is we are presented with a potentially very tricky card ,but the good news is Richard Fahey’s Kimbali ought to be the good thing to pay for our day (2.15pm).
This horse was very well backed on his debut at Beverley earlier this month, almost going off favourite despite the presence of a rival, Springinmystep, boasting Royal Ascot form.
The latter went off the 15-8 fav and duly did the business but debutant Kimbali ran a race chock full of promise, staying on into second to suggest he would be hard to beat wherever he turned up next time.
And this looks a very winnable race with the others that have run thus far proving no great shakes whatsoever.
The biggest danger seems certain to lie with one of the newcomers, in particular Mick Channon’s Lady Hello and Show Of Faith, but they would have to be very smart to deny Kimbali and neither has any fancy entries.
All things considered the contest looks at the Fahey runner’s mercy – especially with talented apprentice Lee Topliss taking off another five pounds – and the tissue price of 15-8 is likely to be wide of the mark.
More like evens I reckon, but he should win and win well to set up our day.
The card will begin with another warm order in First Bid but he bombed out completely when odds-on last time and might be vulnerable to something like Cooldine Cat.
However, in the race after Kimbai’s maiden, Fahey and Topliss could again be on the mark with Take It To The Max.
Improving Rustic Deacon is the obvious one here, but Take It To Max was rated 97 as a juvenile yet runs off 79 and is thus just preferred on his third outing for Fahey.
Then comes the Bell Ringer Handicap and while Motivado, Ittirad and Kinyras all bring decent handicap form to the table, my slight preference is for Luca Cumani’s Midnight Oil.
He hosed up in a maiden last time and is the one horse in the field who could be anything, but course winner Motivado is the most likely beneficiary should Oil fail to fire.
The last four races are fairly tough to call but the treble-seeking Quannah Parker should go well in the 3.55pm for trainer Richard Whittaker, whose Arrivaderci is clearly the one to beat in the following maiden at 4.30pm.
He was chinned by a horse called Farlow last time who has followed up in handicap company since.
Two handicaps end the card and recent wide-margin winner Hot Rod Mamma (5.05pm) and in-form Pinotage (5.40pm) are the fancies there. Both horses are entered in three races apiece over the next week suggesting they could be well-handicapped though Leeds bookmaker and YEP columnist Andy Taylor’s Marino Prince is an obvious danger to the latter.
It’s also Super Sprint day down at Newbury where Malton’s finest, Paul Hanagan, on Lily’s Angel might just upset the Richard Hannon brigade in the big race (2.55pm). Well-handicapped pair Heavenly Dawn (2.55pm) and Keys (5.10pm) are others to consider.
Diamondhead should be a good thing in Newmarket’s opener while Guided Missile (3.40pm) and Give Your Verdict (3.10pm) look fair wagers, but above all else let’s hope for a satisfactory verdict at Ripon.
Best of luck and a have a great weekend.