Thursday 22 March 2018

Kajima to progress for in-form Hannon

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Following last week's jam-packed schedule, this afternoon's cross-channel fare is of a far less exciting variety.

There are a couple of competitive jump races on offer at Market Rasen, while the most interesting betting heat on the Flat is a £15k handicap at Newmarket. A total of 16 runners are set to go to post for the latter one-mile contest.

Give Your Verdict, representing Michael Stoute and Kieren Fallon, is likely to be one of the more popular options here. In his debut season last term, the four-year-old finished second on three occasions, before then winning his final two starts.

Despite those successes, which came in a maiden and a handicap, Give Your Verdict is just three pounds higher here, so he should go close once again. However, bearing in mind that he required four runs to open his account in 2010, it's reasonable to assume that he will strip fitter for today's race.

Last month's Chester winner Viva Ronaldo should be at the peak of his powers. Richard Fahey's Xaar gelding was impressive when scooting three lengths clear on what was his third start of the campaign.

Having been rated 99 in the past, a six-pound hike to his current mark of 87 suggests that he might not be finished winning yet. Nonetheless, that Chester result was Viva Ronaldo's first triumph in three years and the form doesn't read especially well, so a place might be a good return now.

Fancied for the win is Kajima. An Oasis Dream four-year-old that hails from the in-form Richard Hannon yard, Pat Dobbs' mount was progressive last term. In seven outings, he won three and was placed three times between seven and nine furlongs.

While he disappointed on his reappearance, there was a lot to like about the way he flashed home to finish two lengths third over seven at Doncaster a fortnight ago. Kajima reverts to a mile now and, off the same mark, he is value at up to 12/1.

Also at Newmarket, a number of smart fillies and mares line out for a mile-and-a-half Listed race. There are few more intriguing than the Henry Cecil-trained Wild Coco.

On her racecourse debut in May, this one promised much when second at Newmarket and she delivered on that potential with a facile triumph at Haydock in June. With three subsequent winners behind her that day, her form reads encouragingly, so she must enter calculations given that she receives a 12lb three-year-old allowance here.

Still, Meeznah is just preferred. David Lanigan's mare has failed to score since running second in the 2010 Epsom Oaks, but she has been competing at a high level. When she contested a Listed race at Haydock on her seasonal bow at the end of May, it was the lowest grade she had competed in since landing her maiden last year.


When finishing third at Haydock, Meeznah posted a solid effort, with a subsequent runaway Group Two winner behind her in fourth. That is the best form on offer here.

At Market Rasen, David Pipe and Tony McCoy combine with Punchestown winner Street Entertainer in the Summer Hurdle. As ever, the two-miler looks wide-open.

It will require a massive performance from Pipe's four-year-old to concede weight all round, but Street Entertainer has that sort of talent. A dual winner now since the ground has dried up, his form is rock solid.

In the Summer Plate, Points Of View catches the eye. Twice successful over course and distance last month, he remains unexposed on just his fifth chasing start.

Best Bet: Meeznah

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport