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Chepstow and Thirsk previews: Castle Talbot to cash-in on class drop

David Metcalf | August 9, 2016

Castle Talbot ticks all the right boxes at Chepstow

Castle Talbot is in good form at present and can take advantage of a drop in class to get back to winning ways in the 1m handicap on today’s card at Chepstow (15.15).

The Richard Hughes trained gelding belatedly opened his account in a class 6 contest at Brighton four starts back when beating New Rich by a head under a masterful ride from Shane Kelly.

Castle Talbot has since run well to finish in the frame on three occasions, including when staying on strongly from off the pace to finish a never nearer 1 3/4 length third to Rightway in a class 5 apprentice contest at Sandown 13 days ago under Josephine Gordon.

That form reads well in the context of this lower grade class 6 affair and the four-year-old is able to race off an unchanged mark of 65.

Another plus is that Castle Talbot is now reunited with Kelly who knows how to get the very best out of him and with underfoot conditions holding no fears this looks a great opportunity for the son of Rock Of Gibraltar to notch a second career success.

Newbury Thursday

Rosie Royale ready to rock

Jockey Tom Marquand has a tremendous record at the track and Rosie Royale can further enhance it with victory in the 1m 4f handicap (17.20).

The young rider has an overall strike rate of 24 per cent at the Welsh venue, winning on 16 occasions and being placed 14 times from 66 rides.

In Rosie Royale he has a filly who scored twice last season and hinted that her time was near when a fine second of 10 to Blenheim Warrior at Salisbury three starts back.

The four-year-old stayed on well to go down by just a head and has had excuses in two subsequent outings.

This looks a weak class 5 contest for the grade and if reproducing her Salisbury run Rosie Royale is going to be tough to beat.

Chepstow selections

14.15: Shipping Forecast
14.45: Notalot
15.15: Castle Talbot (NAP)
15.45: Monarch Maid
16.15: Perfect Quest
16.45: Dance The Dream
17.20: Rosie Royale (NB)

Dark Castle weighted to shine at Thirsk

Dark Castle has become dangerously well-treated and looks decent value to score an overdue success in the 6f handicap on today’s card at Thirsk (17.35).

The Micky Hammond trained gelding is on a long losing run having not scored since landing a class 3 contest at Pontefract in July 2013 when running on strongly to beat Links Drive Lady by 1/2 a length on fast ground off a mark of 80.

Dark Castle went to to finish a creditable fourth to Sirius Prospect in a class 2 contest at York off 84 and good third to Elusive Flame at Newmarket off the same mark.

The seven-year-old also posted some solid efforts in 2014, including when a neck second to Highland Acclaim in a competitive 18-runner handicap at York off 80 and a fourth at Doncaster off 85.

Things having gone to plan since but Dark Castle is now able to race off a career-low mark of just 56 as a result.

That is a massive 24lb lower than when last victorious and gives the son of Dark Angel outstanding claims from a handicapping perspective if bouncing back to anything like his best now dropped into class 6 company for just the third time in his career.

Race horse trainer MICKY HAMMOND.

Courier can deliver again

Courier scored in good style last time out and can make light of a penalty to follow-up in the 7f handicap (16.30).

The Majorie Fife trained filly posted a string of solid efforts to make the frame before gaining a deserved success when making all to beat Honeysuckle Lil by 1 3/4 lengths at Carlisle eight days ago.

It was an effort which suggested the four-year-old was right at the top of her game and it’s no surprise to see connections turn her out quickly under a 7lb penalty in what looks a weaker race.

The rise is also offset by the 7lb claim of apprentice jockey Hollie Doyle and Courier is effectively a winner without a penalty if taking it into account.

There is also every chance of Courier getting an uncontested lead in this line-up, and if that proves to be the case the daughter of Equiano is going to be tough to peg back given her current mood.

Thirsk selections

14.00: Good Time Ahead
14.30: Tschierschen
15.00: Hijran
15.30: Money Team
16.00: Walpole
16.30: Courier (NB)
17.00: Thornaby Princess
17.35: Dark Castle (NAP)

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