Timeform UK SmartPlays: Sunday July 29

Pontefract plays host to our final SmartPlay

A tip from each of Sunday's three UK meetings features in today's SmartPlays...

Damika was definitely unlucky not to finish closer at Newmarket last time, denied a run as he tried to pick his way through.

First to Stratford, where a twenty-three furlong handicap chase (15:30) acts as the feature of the card. A good number of the contestants are less than hearty, and Ballyvesey would be no exception to that, but we think Peter Bowen's runner can get back to winning ways. He's not shown his very best since finishing runner-up in last year's Summer National, but there were signs last time of a return to form. Wearing a tongue tie for the first time, Ballyvesey ran a bold race to finish second to wide-margin winner Emmaslegend in the replacement race for the Summer National at Uttoxeter last time. He's back in his usual visor today and looks to have plenty in his favour with nothing of Emmaslegend's calibre in this field.

It would be harsh to call the Carlisle Bowl (15:40) a poor relation of the Bell or Plate, but it does lack the depth that those two events typically provide and that seems to open the door for Dark Dune. He's been on the up recently, winning at Pontefract in June and possibly just outstayed when runner-up at Haydock last Saturday. Up just 1lb for that and back down in trip, this looks a reasonable opening for the Tim Easterby-trained gelding to go one better.

Finally at Pontefract, we're going to take in their six-furlong handicap at 16:20, which contains plenty of familiar faces in the likes of Johannes, Beckermet and Arganil. It's another seasoned campaigner, Damika, that we're interested in, though. Since winning at Nottingham in the middle of last month his bare form figures don't suggest any continued resurgence, but as we know that rarely tells the full story at the best of times, even less so with sprinters. Damika was definitely unlucky not to finish closer at Newmarket last time, denied a run as he tried to pick his way through. A return to front-running tactics would probably suit, with this track sometimes proving difficult to make up ground over, so everything looks in place for Damika to go close.

Timeform SmartPlays
Back Ballyvesey @ 5.04/1 in the 15:30 at Stratford
Back Dark Dune @ 6.86/1 in the 15:40 at Carlisle
Back Damika @ 13.5 in the 16:20 at Pontefract

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