There’s a cracking night of action at Monmore on Saturday evening with the culmination of both the Ladbrokes Puppy and Winter Derby competitions.
The card gets underway at 6.17 with a host of youngsters that exited the Puppy Derby in the opening rounds lining up in opposition for the Ladbrokes.com 480 Puppy and on balance BLASTOFF MASON (Trap 4, TF112) looks the one to side with.
A feature of his runs to date has been his tremendous acceleration to the corner, displayed again when landing his respective opening heat of the Puppy Derby on Tuesday week gone. In truth, the son of Droopys Sydney seemingly finding this testing four-bend distance at the limit of his stamina at present and, whilst knocked out at the semi-final stage seven days ago, he was deserving of having his effort marked up. Not trapping at his best and clipped from behind on the approach to the opening corner, he still managed to build up an advantage but not enough to hold the strong-running types as he finished an agonising third.
He holds the aces on the sectional clock and with one of his better breaks is expected to quickly grab a couple of lengths on this field, not least with the distinct possibility of crowding on the run up on his inside. He can seize what looks a good opportunity and resume winning ways. Puff The Tiger (Trap 6, TF110) may be the one to turn handy out wide and fill the forecast spot.
We head over to the six-bend traps for our second selection, with the stayers lining up for the Ladbrokes.com 630 final at 7.07 and BUBBLY DAVE (Trap 6, TF125), who arrived with a lofty reputation from Ireland last year, can utilise what could be a good make-up as the sole middle seed.
Not renowned for his exploits in the opening half of the race, Paul Young’s charge makes up for that with a power-packed finish, highlighting as much when powering clear from the fifth bend in his respective heat last week, defeating Denmark (Trap 4, TF105) by three and three-quarter lengths. It’s highly likely Ivy Hill Skyhigh (Trap 5, TF123) can out-trap the selection but there is a strong suspicion he will be heading left on the approach to first the bend, thus creating the potential for scrimmaging inside.
With that in mind, Bubbly Dave may be the beneficiary if holding that middle course and last year’s Summer Stayers Classic runner-up can bide his time and announce his presence from the three-quarter point. Daddys Prince (Trap 2) is a highly admirable local who may well be up to reversing last week’s form with aforementioned Ivy Hill Skyhigh on account of the draw alone but he is held on a couple of lines of form with the selection from their meetings last summer.
The Ladbrokes Puppy Derby (7.24) has served up a very intriguing final and a wide open one to boot with bookmakers going 3/1 the field. Legitimate claims can be made for the all of the sextet and whilst he was slowest of the trio of semi-final winners WESTWAY BLAKE (Trap 2, TF127) may well be the one to side with to take lead honours.
A versatile youngster, he had little fuss in defeating Arthur Sprout in the opening rounds and in truth was better than the three-quarter length defeat of the re-opposing Dapper Donnie (Trap 3, TF107) would suggest seven days ago, crowded early as the pair sought the same inside line before cleverly biding his time to stamp his class on the contest off the last bend.
Bockos Belly (Trap 1, TF121) had some very smart form in Ireland and there was plenty of substance to his success last week, coming with a sustained challenge off the last bend. However, he may find himself behind the selection on the approach to the opening corner on sectional ratings and will need luck on that basis. Dannid (Trap 6, TF115) looked a slow burner initially but took off to gain his place in the final six and in all likelihood there is a good deal more to come. Yet, he’s not the most consistent at the boxes as of yet and may not find it easy to clear Deelish Hero (Trap 5, TF106) on the approach to the opening corner.
With that in mind, the lead threat to Westway Blake may come in the shape of the likeable and highly talented Jaguar Macie (Trap 4, TF123). OK, she faces the widest draw in her career to date but she’s a vastly experienced youngster with assured stamina and provided she comes out of the second bend unscathed, is fully expected to be in the shake-up.
The Ladbrokes Winter Derby Final (8.03) may well be a race that is won at the boxes with most capable of smashing from the traps and maintaining a strong gallop at the highest level.
With that in mind it may pay to side with Timeform top-rated QUEEN JESSIEJ (Trap 3, TF135) to get it right in that regard and gain compensation for last year’s luckless run in the Gold Cup at this venue. Liz McNair’s superstar tracker didn’t trap as she can from red last week but once again managed to dip under the 28-second barrier, holding Coolavanny Kyser (Trap 1, TF126) by five lengths. If anything the draw in white is a big plus for Queen Jessiej (record stands at 4-4 from this trap over C&D) and with Amazing Wink (Trap 2, TF112) liable to an element of box napping, the selection should have plenty of racing room early to gain an advantageous position on the inner.
Queen Dolly (Trap 5, TF116) and King Louis (Trap 6, TF126) were fellow impressive make-all heat winners seven days ago, making it a clean sweep for the all-conquering McNair kennel but something has to give on this occasion and Signet Ace (Trap 4, TF124) could well emerge as the forecast play for Kevin Hutton. Running with plenty of credit behind King Louis latest, that effort came from the red jacket and in our book a draw off the fence may see the son of Laughill Blake in a better light this evening.
Sheffield raider CLEVER AIRMOUNT (Trap 2, TF126) is a bitch running at the top of her game at present, reaching the semi-final of the Golden Jacket prior to bolting up at Nottingham earlier this week.
Capable of doing it off the front or from behind, the draw in blue will hold no fears for Barrie Draper’s charge and with nothing setting the world alight on sectional clock, turning front rank on the run to the opening bend rates a distinct possibility.
It’s always worth keeping a bitch in red-hot form on side and all looks set fair for another bold showing in the 8.43.
Southfield Code (Trap 5, TF124) has been plying his trade away from home-soil in recent weeks, no match for the selection at Nottingham on Monday, yet it’s feasible to think he can reduce those margins back here and emerge as the chief threat once more.
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