TAKE THE HELM
London – Take The Helm could hold all the aces in the Sun Racing Handicap at Lingfield on Friday after a recent impressive return from a lengthy absence.
Brian Meehan’s charge was good enough to win the apprentice event on All-Weather Finals day in the spring and again performed with honour when second at Chelmsford before embarking on a summer break.
Another crack at the Good Friday feature looks an obvious shout for Meehan to make with the six-year-old, so it must have been heartening to see him finish third on his first start for 240 days at Lingfield just under a week ago.
Take The Helm was found out in the finish that day after racing keenly in the early stages, but that run should have put a racing edge on him now.
Redemptive has placed on her two starts so far for David Elsworth but can improve on that in the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Handicap.
Third behind Reeth on her first start for the yard, she improved to second behind that rival on her most recent run – although she was on 4kg better terms.
Reeth is not in the mix here, so that is one hurdle fewer for Redemptive off an unchanged mark.
Favori Royal was not a cheap recruit at 240,000 guineas, and he failed to live up to his price tag when a well-beaten fourth on his racecourse bow for Archie Watson.
However, the gelding looked thoroughly green when making that belated three-year-old debut just before Christmas – and the experience should not be wasted on him.
Watson will surely have been working to rectify his tardy start in time for the Betway Novice Stakes, and it would be no surprise if Favori Royal could make a suitable leap forward.
Woverhampton stages a race bearing the same name – over 1000m rather than 1200m – and Kadiz can get her head in front at last.
Richard Hughes’ charge failed to hit the target in 10 starts as a juvenile last term, but she really did not enjoy too much luck when beaten a length and a half in third on her final start of 2018.
She was a bit keen early, but looked to be producing a decent challenge when checked for room and forced to switch path, costing her valuable momentum.
If she gets a clear run this time, Kadiz should make her mark.
Fret D’Estruval can bounce back in the Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon.
Alan King contenders in these races are always worth respect, especially for powerful owners Isaac Souede and Simon Munir.
Fret D’Estruval flopped on his British debut, having previously been trained in France and won both his hurdle starts there for Guillaume Macaire.
He faded out of contention to finish a well-beaten fifth at Cheltenham in last month’s JCB Triumph trial, but this sharper and flatter course may well suit him much better – and it will be no surprise to witness significant improvement.
Well Smitten made a great start for Amy Murphy when winning at the Cambridgeshire venue on Boxing Day and can follow up back over the same 4000m trip in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Chase.
Previously trained by Warren Greatrex, Well Smitten failed to make his mark in either bumper or hurdles company but made a seamless switch to chasing when triumphing by seven lengths a couple of weeks ago.
The seven-year-old looked sure to make further progress from that victory and can capitalise off a relatively low mark.
Instant Replay is worth a chance in the Sedgefield’s Spray Clad UK Handicap Chase.
Brian Ellison’s seven-year-old chalked up successive wins here around this time last winter, at this distance and a similar trip.
He has finished second to two useful opponents on his last two attempts, and may be able to dominate this small field from the front. – Press Association
SELECTIONS (UK times):
DUNDALK: 5.00 Smart Stinger, 5.30 Hasselnott, 6.00 Very Excellent, 6.30 Theobald, 7.00 Marine One, 7.30 Amazing One, 8.00 Victorious Secret, 8.30 Burning Lake.
HUNTINGDON: 1.00 Zamoysky, 1.30 Precious Bounty, 2.00 Minmore Present, 2.30 Fret D’Estruval, 3.00 Well Smitten, 3.30 Jillythejet.
LINGFIELD: 1.10 Redemptive, 1.40 Cuttin’ Edge, 2.10 TAKE THE HELM (NAP), 2.40 Deeds Not Words, 3.10 Favori Royal, 3.40 Mercers.
SEDGEFIELD: 1.20 Danceintothelight, 1.50 Castletown, 2.20 I’m To Blame, 2.50 Instant Replay, 3.20 Nortonthorpelegend, 3.50 Dares To Dream.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.10 Cape Greco, 4.45 The Groove, 5.15 Klass Action, 5.45 Warrior Display, 6.15 Flaming Marvel, 6.45 Constituent, 7.15 Kadiz, 7.45 Hollander.
DOUBLE: Take The Helm and Kadiz.