Steve Hughes has two decent priced fancies for the All Weather fixture at Wolverhampton on Monday afternoon.
It is All Weather racing all the way thanks once again to this continuing wet winter and although Southwell’s fixture is a jumpers’ bumper card, I am sticking to the more conventional flat meeting at Wolverhampton where I fancy a couple of longer priced horses to bounce back to form.
Wolverhampton 4.15: Arabian Heights
He has no worthwhile form to his name since leaving Mark Prescott’s yard in 2011, but Arabian Heights could be worth chancing back on a surface he is proven on, having been given plenty of rope by the handicapper and hailing from a stable which could not be in any better form at present.
His one career win came in a maiden over this course and distance as a 3yo, but he ran plenty of good races in handicaps that year, finishing up with consecutive third placings over 10f at Beverley and Windsor off marks in the mid 80’s. He was bought that autumn to join Alan King with a view to a hurdling career, but presumably met with a setback as he did not run at all that winter, but did go jumping the following season. However things somewhat fell apart after a fair hurdling debut when eighth at Newbury.
He had one run for another trainer on the flat in 2013, finishing last, and then joined Ian Williams in the autumn. At first glance his form for his new yard is no better, twice finishing last in his two runs on the All Weather. However both were at Southwell on the Fibresand, and both over an inadequate 1m. He is back on his favoured surface here (career record on Polytrack is 5421) and the handicapper has dropped him an incredible 18lbs for those three poor runs. Whilst it does take a little hope and imagination to see him back to near his best today, the opposition is not that strong, so he looks worth taking a small punt on. Confidence is increased by the current form of the yard (5-13 in February).
Wolverhampton 4.45: Doctor Parkes
It was only in the summer that Doctor Parkes was winning twice in competitive 5f sprints and there have been encouraging signs that the 8yo is on his way back in his last couple of races, his causes assisted by a drop to a more realistic mark. A favourable draw gives him good each-way claims today for another in-form stable.
He does have a course and distance win to his name in the autumn of 2012, so although he is not a frequent runner on sand, that has probably been down to a lack of suitable races for a highly rated horse rather than any lack of ability on the surface. Although he has won once at 6f, the minimum trip is certainly his best and his form last summer was as good as ever, winning off a career high mark of 92 at Doncaster in August.
Handicapped out of things for the rest of the turf season, he has taken time to come to hand this winter. However he shaped nicely when fifth in a similar grade contest at Southwell last time, and is likely to find this Polytrack surface more favourable. I would have fancied the chances of likely favourite Dangerous Age, a progressive sprinter – but that filly has drawn the outside box from which she will need a lot of luck. Doctor Parkes on the other hand has a perfect inside draw, so provided he can keep in touch early, he can save a lot of ground at the crucial part of the contest. He has dropped to a mark of 85 now, which is a level he has won from frequently in the past and Stuart Williams is another trainer in red hot form in February (4-11).
1pt win – Arabian Heights – 4.15 Wolverhampton (10/1 Coral)
1pt each-way – Doctor Parkes – 4.45 Wolverhampton (11/1 Paddy Power)