London – James Tate has his string in flying form at present and can add to his tally at Windsor on Monday with the promising Fields Of Athenry.
Since seeing stable star Invincible Army make an impressive start to the season in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago, Tate has enjoyed a Wolverhampton double as well as winners at Chelmsford and Redcar.
Fields Of Athenry looked a really smart recruit when making a winning debut at Wolverhampton in November, and has done little wrong in defeat in two subsequent starts in novice company.
A third-placed finish on his return to Wolverhampton was followed by a fine effort to fill the runner-up spot at Lingfield – on both occasions conceding 3kg to the horses who finished in front of him.
He commences his handicap career from an opening perch of 84 in the Horse Guards Gin Festival 8th July Handicap – and with further progress likely as he steps up to a 2000m for the first time, Fields Of Athenry should prove hard to beat, with the booking of Ryan Moore adding further confidence.
Telecaster gets the nod in the Follow At The Races On Twitter Novice Stakes. Hughie Morrison’s colt is up against two decent penalised opponents and a likely market rival from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard.
But this son of New Approach ran a race full of promise on his debut when a tidy runner-up to a well-backed and more experienced favourite at Doncaster late last month. Telecaster kept on well over this same distance on Town Moor, and was well clear of the remainder in a big field. He looked a winner in waiting that day, and may well get off the mark at the second attempt here.
Space Bandit is of significant interest in the Napoleons Casino Bradford Handicap at Pontefract. Bought out of Michael Bell’s yard for the bargain-basement fee of 2,000 guineas, this four-year-old has already proved yet another shrewd purchase by Rutland-based trainer Mick Appleby.
This son of Shamardal secured his third win from seven starts for his current connections when completing a course hat-trick at Southwell recently and is able to run off the same mark of 87 as he switches back to the turf.
He was well-beaten on his only previous turf start on what was his racecourse debut for Bell, but he is clearly a different horse now and should make his presence felt under talented 3kg-claimer Mark Crehan.
There is a total prize fund of #25,000 up for grabs in the Riu Hotels And Resorts Handicap. This 1000m contest has attracted some quality sprinters, and the vote goes to Roy Bowring’s stable stalwart Foolaad.
Having visited the winner’s circle on no fewer than five occasions in 2018, this eight-year-old opened his account for the current campaign with a determined all-the-way triumph at Doncaster a fortnight ago.
A 1.5kg hike makes life tougher – but Foolaad is clearly in good heart and was successful on his only previous visit to Pontefract, which augurs well.
Glinger Flame can notch a second successive win at Hexham for Scottish Grand National-winning trainer Nicky Richards in the opening Smooth Breakfast With Steve Colman National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle. – Press Association
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