Brighton and Catterick previews: Fear Or Favour can collect for in-form Cox
David Metcalf | May 3, 2016
Fear Or Favour a Brighton beauty
Trainer Clive Cox has his team in flying form at present, and Fear Or Favour can capitalise on a drop in grade to provide him with another winner in the 6f handicap on today’s card at Brighton (14.50).
The gelding had some useful form to his name as a three-year-old, winning a class 4 contest at Bath off a mark of 78, before running a blinder to finish a 3/4 length second of 12 to Eastern Impact in a competitive class 2 affair at Newmarket off 84.
Things since haven’t gone to plan with Fear Or Favour, and he has failed to trouble the judge in seven outings.
However, that has resulted in the handicapper cutting him plenty of slack and the son of Haatef is now able to race off a career-low rating of just 75.
It gives Fear Or Favour major claims at the weights, especially now dropped down into class 5 company for the first time in nearly three years.
Another plus is that Cox has a strike rate of 50 per cent at the track in the past 12 months (three winners and two placed from six runners), and this looks a golden opportunity for Fear Or Favour to get back to winning ways.
Ifan poised to follow-up
Ifan escapes a penalty after scoring at the track seven days ago and looks a worthy favourite to go in again in the 1m 4f handicap (15.55).
The Tim Vaughan trained gelding bounced back from a spell in the doldrums when fitted with the cheekpieces for the first time and staying on strongly to beat Lord of The Storm by 1/4 lengths in a 1m 2f apprentice contest under Mitch Godwin.
Godwin was only able to claim 5lb that day, but is now able to utilise his full 7lb allowance against his senior riders.
It means that Ifan is effectively running off 2lb lower if taking it into account, and that is going to make the eight-year-old very hard to beat if turning up in the same form.
The extra distance should also now be a concern given how Ifan finished off the race, and this looks an excellent chance for him to bag a third success at the seaside venue.
14.50: Fear Or Favour (NAP)
15.20: Pour La Victoire
15.55: Ifan (NB)
17.25: Royal Bajan
Balmusette weighted to strike at Catterick
Balmusette can take advantage of what looks a very lenient mark to land the 1m 7f handicap on this evening’s card at Catterick (19.55).
The Keith Reveley trained mare is a useful bumper/hurdle winner at up to 3m and has been rated as high as 133 over the obstacles.
Balmusette has had just four runs on the level between 1m and 1m 4f, finishing runner-up on one occasion, and has been allotted a basement opening handicap flat mark of 50 on the back of those efforts.
That makes the seven-year-old a real handicap blot and potentially thrown-in at the weights based on her hurdles ability.
The step up in trip is also a big plus for Balmusette, and she hails from a yard which is in good form having saddled three winners from its last 11 runners.
Itlaaq holds major claims
Trainer Mick Easterby has made a terrific start to the new season, and Itlaaq can take advantage of a drop in class to provide him with another success in the 1m 4f claimer (18.25).
The 10-year-old has not scored since landing a class 3 contest at York back in June 2014, and failed to shine in three starts last season.
However, this represents by far the easiest task Itlaaq has faced for some time and he is the highest rated horse in the line-up and would outclass his rivals if bouncing back to anything like his best.
The veteran has also won fresh in the past, so the fact he has not been seen in action for 356 days is not a negative.
Itlaaq also has the services in the saddle of Nathan Evans who is good value for his 5lb claim, and this looks a lovely opening for the gelding to get back on the scoresheet.
17.55: Clem Fandango
18.25: Itlaaq (NB)
19.55: Balmusette (NAP)
20.25: Hit The Lights