Despite a lack of top-class equine talent on show this weekend, there are still seven meetings to scrutinize with the best of the action coming from Beverley, Chester and Sandown.
Sprint races around Chester can be a minefield but there are plenty of reasons that make Ballesteros a good each-way investment in the 2.20. Firstly he’s one from one over course and distance, handles ground ranging from good to heavy, has won off a higher mark and has a useful 5lb claimer on. Most importantly, Richard Fahey knows how to lay one out to win for owner Marwan Koukash who loves having winners at his beloved Chester.
Ballesteros 13/2 each-way
Whiplash Willie is another horse worthy of a bet at Chester. Earmarked for the Ebor, connections decided to sidestep Europe’s richest handicap on account of the fast ground and compensation should await over a course, distance and ground that should suit. Market rivals Noble Silk and De Rigeur would respectively probably prefer a longer distance and a bigger field.
Whiplash Willie 9/2
The 5-furlong Beverley Bullet provides some near top-class sprinters with a chance to chalk up a victory after making up the numbers in some of Europe’s biggest sprint races. Pearl Secret, Meccas Angel, Kingsgate Native and Rocky Ground look the principal candidates with the first two having a marked preference for soft ground and the latter two for good ground or faster.
If soft appears in the going description then Pearl Secret will be a popular selection, however Kingsgate Native still has plenty of sparkle for a 9-year-old and looks a solid each-way investment against the favourite as trainer Robert Cowell lowers his charge’s sights. The faster the ground the better, whilst new jockey Tony Hamilton knows the course well.
Kingsgate Native 11/2 each-way
The only time that Ecclestone encountered soft ground he won over the course and distance, whilst the only other time he’s encountered a stiff uphill finish he was a fine second to Meccas Angel. There are plenty of dangers but he look to have a solid each-way chance.
Ecclestone 10/1 each-way
Calm Attitude takes a big rise in class but is proven on soft ground over course and distance. She has won four times on soft ground in all and should relish the chance to race off a low weight with Noel Garbutt’s 5lb claim reducing her burden to just 7-9.
Calm Attitude 18/1 each-way