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Wetherby preview: Straight Arrow to hit bullseye on handicap debut

Trainer Timothy Jarvis has his team in good form at present, and Straight Arrow looks decent value to provide him with another winner in the 1m handicap on today’s card at Wetherby (14.45).

The gelding has failed to trouble the judge in three starts, but ran far better than his finishing position suggests last time out at Windsor when seventh of 12 to Tunnel Creek in a decent 1m maiden.

Straight Arrow showed plenty of pace to race in touch out wide, and held every chance two from home until fading approaching the final furlong.

The three-year-old was then allowed to come home in his own time once it was clear he would not be winning, and it was an effort which suggested Straight Arrow had the potential to do far better when tackling handicaps.

If that proves to be the case then an opening mark of 54 could well be on the lenient side, and Straight Arrow also has the services of promising apprentice Patrick O’Connell who is terrific value for his 7lb claim.

O’Connell has an overall strike rate of just under 20 per cent (11 wins and eight placed from 57 rides) and backing his mounts to a £1 level stake has produced an incredible profit of £159.63.

In the 5f handicap (15.15), Handsome Dude can take advantage of a drop in class to land the spoils.

The David Barron trained colt had just two runs as a juvenile, shaping well when fifth on debut at Ripon before opening his account in good style at York.

Handsome Dude went left at the start in the latter, but showed plenty of dash to recover quickly to track the leader before taking up the running a furlong from home to readily beat Brando by 1 3/4 lengths.

It was a most taking performance, and one which suggested Handsome Dude would make up into a useful handicapper as a three-year-old.

That view was confirmed when the son of Showcasing reappeared in a hot handicap at York and ran far better than his final finishing position suggests.

Handsome Dude the duly improved for the outing to finish a solid staying on third to Wanting in a class 3 affair at Haydock, and the winner has since gone on to finish an excellent close up fifth in a Listed contest.

That form reads well in the context of this lower grade class 4 contest, and suggests Handsome Dude is up to defying top weight and the one to beat.

Selections:
14.15: Rioca
14.45: Straight Arrow (NAP)
15.15: Handsome Dude (NB)
15.45: Lord Franklin
16.20: Smiling Stranger
16.50: Hala Madrid
17.25: Pyla
17.55: Exclusive Contract