Definite could be on a good mark at Newbury
Back Definite @ 4.03/1 in the 13:20 at Newbury
Backing a Ralph Beckett filly yesterday for the column didn't work out at all well with Funny Story, who went through the race well until something clearly went amiss. I'm with the 'R' man again at Newbury on Saturday and Definite could be on a fair mark off 77.
He was a headstrong Kingman on his first four starts, but since he was gelded, he has delivered a pair of much-improved displays.
First he won a 0-70 at Haydock when making all, and he tried the same tactics in a small field 0-90 next time at Nottingham - only to meet the win machine Eagle's Way. The winner is progressive and looked a 90-horse, and he's undeniably well placed here in terms of receiving weight from his rivals.
Hardly anything came from off the pace at Newbury yesterday bar Hot Team in the last, and with quick ground, Beckett can hopefully give us some compensation after Funny Story's flop. The addition of the tongue-tie can help too, with the trainer holding a 19% placed record going for the aids.
Pillo can blow his rivals away in the Hornblower
Back Prince Of Pillo @ 3.7511/4 in the 13:40 at Ripon
Very rarely do you get a big field for the Ripon Hornblower, and going back to 2013, only two competed. With six for today, it's positively a Grand National size collective.
I initially looked at Wen Moon because of his track form winning last time, but that was a messy race. Preference is for the once-raced Prince Of Pillo.
He impressed me with the way he travelled to win on debut at Ayr and shouldn't have a problem with the drop down to 5f as he didn't look short of speed. That could be key here over the 5f, as the favourite New Definition does not look a naturally pacey horse and comes down from 6f too.
Prince Of Pillo has been one of three juvenile winners for trainer Keith Dalgleish this term and he's had a couple of winners at Ripon this term from seven runners at a strike-rate of 28% - up on his 16% strike-rate at the track in the last five seasons.
He was a 38k breeze-up buy for the Middleham Park Racing team - a brilliant operation who buy so well away from the top-end of the market.
You couldn't get two more diametrically opposite trainers too. Beckett is old school whose family are steeped in Eton and Harrow lore. Dalgleish looks like a rock god and could easily pass in a Jim Morrison and Doors tribute band.