Bets for Lingfield, Ascot and Nottingham for our top gossip column this week with River Nymph fancied to strike gold in the Victoria Cup.
River Nymph can see off the challenge of his near-neighbour Raising Sand and win the Tote Victoria Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
Significant rain is expected to fall before the start of this annual cavalry charge and the chance of soft ground and a return to seven furlongs should suit Clive Cox's four-year-old, who won good class events at both Newbury and over this course and distance last season.
Although thwarted by the mile and a low number draw in the Lincoln on his return to action, he ran a cracking race until fading in the closing stage and was not given a hard time when his chance had gone. This race soon became the target for his next venture and connections have been very happy with his preparatory work and build up.
Raising Sand, another mud lover, has a fine record in this type of event on this course and starts his season on a good mark, especially as smart 7lb claimer Saffie Osborne takes the ride.
Dreamloper misses a tilt at the Victoria Cup in favour of the opening Tote British EBF Fillies Handicap and the move should pay dividends.
Ed Walker feared the seven furlongs may just prove too sharp for this progressive filly on her comeback at Haydock two weeks ago and his fears were realised. She finished a very creditable fourth however, and may well have given the winner Persuasion plenty to think about had she not had to wait to deliver her challenge. A winner over this course and distance last season, she should prove too good for the consistent and equally unexposed Lights On.
Andrew Balding is a trainer in top form and should win the tote+ Placepots Pay More Novice Stakes with Robasta. Strongly fancied on his debut effort at Yarmouth last month, he ruined his chance with a slow start but still managed to produce a promising performance in chasing home his market rival Second Win. The form of that race has yet to be tested but Robasta will be more streetwise after that performance and should improve.
Gwehwyvar produced a very laudable effort after taking a bump at the start to finish fourth in a maiden at the Newbury April meetin and should come on plenty for the outing in the tote+ Exclusively At tote.co.uk Silk Series Fillies' Handicap. Hughie Morrison has booked the services of Nicola Currie for this event for female riders only and the handicapper looks to have given the combination a real chance with a rating of 74.
Roger Charlton's team are slowly running into form after a slow start to the turf season, and Louganini can underline the point with a big run in the tote+ Exclusively At tote.co.uk Handicap.
Both his victories so far at Haydock and Newmarket have come on soft ground and he looked a shade unlucky not to make it three when beaten half-a-length by Kingsbrook in the Old Rowley Cup at the latter course last backend.
Although well beaten on his comeback at Pontefract last month, the ten furlongs on fast ground looked plenty quick enough and he shaped as if in need of the run. He should be much sharper here and the forecast rain will be appreciated.
It may pay to take a chance with Ocean Road in the Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies Stakes at Lingfield. This looks a very open, if, at the moment, low-key pointer for the second Fillies’ classic, but Hugo Palmer has been very pleased with this daughter of Australia's work this spring.
She should soon be adding to her solitary win so far - on the all-weather here towards the end of last year - whatever happens on Saturday.
Ground conditions may not be entirely ideal for Ocean Road but Adayer should have no problem with them in the Novibet Derby Trial Stakes. Q
Quietly fancied for the Sandown Classic Trial on his comeback despite being thought to need the run, he ran a cracker to finish second to Alenquer after a good battle in the final furlong. Although stablemate and the third in that race, Yibir, did little for the form at Chester on Thursday, that performance was too bad to be true and Adayar has produced some very good homework since.
Isabella Giles, a stablemate of River Nymph, was among the best juvenile fillies on this side of the Irish Sea last season and is just preferred to Double Or Bubble in the Group 3 Novibet Chartwell Fillies Stakes.
A winner of four of her six starts last season, she ran a very sound race to finish sixth behind Alcohol Free on her comeback at this level in the Fred Darling three weeks ago. A daughter of Belardo, underfoot conditions should suit her much better provided the forecast rain materialises and she gets a handy 7lbs from her six older rivals.
Cochise is another Charlton-trained soft ground winner and he looks nicely weighted for his second appearance of the season in the RacingTV.com Handicap at Nottingham.
An easy winner in the mud at Bath on his final start of the 2019 campaign, he will be sharper for his only outing since that success at Chelmsford last month. The anticipated surface at Colwick Park will suit him better.
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