Turf Talk: That Is The Spirit can call his own tune in the Bombardier “March To Your Own Drum” Handicap at Wolverhampton

That Is The Spirit looks to be running into form ahead of the Bombardier “March To Your Own Drum” Handicap at Wolverhampton.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 5:58 am
Trainer, Michael Appleby. PIC: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Now a nine-year-old, That Is The Spirit probably holds few secrets and is undoubtedly some way below the form that saw him strike in Listed company in both 2014 and 2015. But he remains a useful tool for Michael Appleby in just this sort of event and, with two recent runs under his belt, That Is The Spirit is now firing on all cylinders.

He returned from a 151-day break last month, recording a close-up fifth at the first time of asking before stepping up again a week later to finish a narrow second at Kempton.

That Is The Spirit lines up off a mark of 79 here, his lowest perch since he won on his debut for Appleby last June, and he should be right in the mix again.

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Kybosh can make it a double for the Appleby team in the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap. He is still a maiden after 11 races, but has been a model of consistency this winter without actually having the cards fall in his favour.

Four thirds in six starts shows Kybosh is capable, albeit at a lowly level, and his current mark of 49 does not look beyond him.

Never Dark has hit the bar on each of his two starts to date, but he should at least be well aware of what is required in the Betway Maiden Stakes. Hailing from a smart sprint family, Never Dark shaped with promise on his first spin at Kempton before slightly disappointing when only second as an odds-on favourite last month. He came up against what appeared to be a smart rival on that occasion, so he is not one to give up on yet.

Lion Tower made it second time lucky when switched to the Fibresand and he can follow up in the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Novice Stakes back at Southwell.

Trained by Mark Johnston, this colt has a strong Australian pedigree and he showed some ability on his debut, despite eventually finishing eighth of 10 runners at Wolverhampton last month.

Sent to Southwell just nine days later, Lion Tower showed the benefit of that run as he stayed on strongly over six furlongs to win a maiden event with a bit still in hand.

He will have to step up again to concede weight all around here, but Lion Tower looks up to the task.

Sur Mer finished second to Lion Tower in the aforementioned Southwell race and can enjoy her own moment in the spotlight in the Betway Novice Stakes.

She was keeping on nicely that day while never looking like troubling the winner and clearly has some promise as the penny did not really drop until the closing stages.

Dropping back to five furlongs here, she should be much sharper.

Glory Of Paris has turned in decent efforts on both his previous trips to Southwell and is one to watch in the Bombardier Golden Beer Handicap.

Paint The Dream ran a fine race in defeat at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and should appreciate easier company in the Rowles Fine Art Beginners’ Chase at Ludlow.

He chased home Midnight Shadow in the Grade Two Dipper Novices’ Chase, although both horses obviously benefited from Champ’s departure at the penultimate obstacle.

Paint The Dream gave it a good go at the finish though, pushing Midnight Shadow all the way to the line and with that one subsequently placing in Grade One company, his form looks strong.

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

LUDLOW: 1.45 Archie Brown, 2.15 Paint The Dream, 2.45 Oriental Cross, 3.15 Town Parks, 3.45 Gilka, 4.15 Monbeg Gold, 4.45 King Erik.

SOUTHWELL: 1.30 Young Tiger, 2.00 Sur Mer, 2.30 The Eagle’s Nest, 3.00 Lion Tower (treble), 3.30 Glory Of Paris, 4.00 Six Til Twelve, 4.30 Arabian King.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.05 Foresee, 5.40 Never Dark (next best), 6.10 Tabaahy, 6.40 Kybosh, 7.10 THAT IS THE SPIRIT (NAP), 7.40 Limaro Prospect, 8.10 Grace Plunkett.