Catterick Preview: Dara Tango handicapped to strike
Irish raider Dara Tango is potentially thrown-in at the weights in the 2m handicap at Catterick today (3.50), and looks decent value to turn over the favourite Jolie Blonde.
The gelding won twice on the level in France in 2010/11 and his other runs included a solid fourth to the 120-rated Planteur in a Group 2 contest at Longchamp.
Now in the care of the ultra-shrewd Tony Martin, Dara Tango has gone on to win twice over hurdles and finished fourth in a Grade 3 contest when last seen in action at Cork.
That run earned him an official hurdle rating of 128, but he is able to race off a basement flat mark of just 58 in this, now switched back to the level for the first time since joining Martin.
It makes the seven-year-old look dangerously well-treated on ground that will hold no fears if primed for action after 723 days on the sidelines. Dara Tango’s handler Martin has proved time and time again that he is the master at getting one ready to take advantage of the handicapper’s leniency to land a punt.
Elsewhere on the card, the Tim Easterby trained Kenny The Captain and Penny Garcia have plenty going for them in two divisions of the David Barker Memorial Handicap.
Kenny The Captain runs in division one (1.50) and is weighted to take the beating now he steps back up to 6f.
The gelding ended 2013 on an upward curve when winning three times and, having started this campaign on a mark of 86, is now running off just 75.
That is 6lb lower than when Kenny The Captain registered his last success in the mud at Doncaster last November, and gives him every chance from a handicapping perspective.
The three-year-old should also now be spot on to do himself justice following two runs over 5f following a break, and the step back up to 6f is a big plus as all three of his career successes have come over this distance.
Stable companion Penny Garcia has a similar profile and, if the fitting of the cheekpieces for the first time have the desired effect, looks sure to go close in division two (2.20).
The filly showed a good attitude to beat Elle Woods by a head at Carlisle in a class 4 contest 16 months ago off a 75 rating, and went on to run some solid races to finish in the frame off higher marks.
Penny Garcia, who is the daughter of Indestachel, now gets into this contest off just 66, 9lb lower than when previously successful. She shaped as if returning to form last time out at Newcastle when travelling strongly before keeping on to finish a close-up fourth of 15 to Royal Connoisseur.
12.50: Park Glen
1.20: Sioux Chieftain
1.50: Kenny The Captain (NB)
2.20: Penny Garcia
3.20: Iron Butterfly
3.50: Dara Tango (NAP)
4.20: Sir Geoffrey