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24th April Race Evening Preview

Wed, Apr 23, 2014

A fantastic summer of flat racing lies ahead of us and the popular seaside track at Brighton will be hosting no less than 21 meetings during 2014. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, do get yourself along and after the racing has finished, the seafront is there to be enjoyed.

16.55 Brighton - Stephanie Leighton 50th Birthday Maiden Stakes (CLASS 5) (2yo) 5f59y

The racing starts at 16.55 and before we consider the horses, we must say happy birthday to Stephanie Leighton. Sponsoring a race to commemorate a family occasion can be a real thrill. I quite like the look of the filly MANDARIN GIRL. A daughter of Cake and a half-sister to Fig Roll, she was short in the market ahead of her recent debut at Ripon and she broke smartly from her rails draw. Given how well things were looking, it has to go down as disappointing that she failed to hold her position and ultimately, she folded quite tamely. She did shape well to a point though and should have learned plenty from the experience. Given she hails from the top two-year-old yard of Richard Hannon Jr, she might be worth another chance.

Tom Dascombe is a trainer doing well and he provided the winner of the race in which Mandarin Girl was beaten. His runner Macarthurs Park shaped well enough on the polytrack at Wolverhampton earlier in the month and she is another who can be expected to improve.

17.25 Brighton - harringtonslettings.co.uk Handicap (CLASS 6) (4yo+ 0-60) 1m1f209y

NELSON QUAY looks more about stamina than speed and stepping back up to 10f saw him home in front on the all-weather a few weeks back. The form of that run is nothing special and they finished in a typical Lingfield heap but what is interesting is that he can race from a 9lb lower mark on turf. On that basis, he might have something in hand of his handicap mark and may be able to follow-up for trainer Jeremy Gask.

Mr Lando has had more racing experience and we know where we are with him. He has earned his entry on the shortlist on account of his mark has slipping below 60, which allows him to tackle easier opposition than has been the case for a while. Indeed, he won his last two handicaps when rated below 60 and with Ryan Tate taking over in the saddle, the horse will benefit from another 5lb's of weight off his back.

Brighton regular Hawk Moth hasn't won many but has been second here a couple of times and has the form to go close. Historically, he has needed his first run after his winter break but it wouldn't surprise me to see him go well this time around.

I gather the sponsors of this race, Harrington's Lettings, have been voted number one letting agent in Brighton by students. If you are looking to rent or have a property to let, check out their website.

17.55 Brighton - Brighton & Hove Streamline Taxis Handicap (CLASS 5) (4yo+ 0-75) 7f214y

The Brighton course is a unique configuration, as typifies British racecourses and it is no secret that some horses love it whilst others prefer a different challenge. It always pays therefore to make note of which horses have won here before and BLOODSWEATANDTEARS has two wins and a second to his name from five runs at the venue. It is fair to say the six-year-old has not quite won his share and I concede his record is better in class 6 company. This does not look the strongest class 5 affair though and off his current handicap mark, he ought to go close.

Through the winter, Whitby Jet has been going well on the all-weather and although the handicapper may just have him, he is another with winning form here at Brighton and looks one of the stronger contenders. Given his running style, a decent pace would help as he likes to come with a late rattle.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, another who goes well but may just be handicapped high enough is Siouxperhero. Bill Muir's five-year-old has tended to peak in late summer so may be one to watch today with the future in mind.

A day at the races often means a glass or two of Champagne to celebrate a win so consider leaving the car at home and enjoying yourself. Brighton is well served by taxis and the biggest firm is Streamline Taxis, kind sponsors of a few races tonight so program this number into your phone and one of their 350 cars will get you back to where you need to be. 01273 20 20 20.

18.25 Brighton - streamlinetaxis.org Classified Stakes (CLASS 6) (3yo+ 0-55) 7f214y

This is a low-grade affair which provides the opportunity for a smaller owner to have a winner and for punters, it is no different to The Derby in that the race will be won and money paid out.

Alan Bailey is a trainer I have a lot of time for and he has had a prolific time of things on the AW through the darker months. His runner TRINITY LORRAINE is not going to be a stable star but she did manage to pull clear and win a nursery last backend. True to say she failed to build on that but she may enjoy a day at the seaside with the sun on her back and grass under her feet after spending the winter largely at Wolverhampton. A short break may have freshened her up and I would be hopeful if not confident of a reasonable showing.

I thought Nifty Kier had half a chance at Yarmouth on Tuesday but he trailed in last. Not a great debut for his new connections but in hindsight, the 6f wasn't to his liking. Returning to a mile if he takes his chance again on Thursday and in this easier company, a much better effort is possible.

18.55 Brighton - Papa John´s Pizza In Brighton Handicap (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-85) 6f209y

It is quite hard to write about what you don't know and in tipping KOSIKA, I am making an educated guess. With a promising pedigree, it was good to see her win on her debut a couple of years ago for Godolphin but things have clearly not gone smoothly since. It was 8-months before she was seen out again which was in Dubai and she got beaten a long way. 462 days later, she returns to the track under the care of Mark Johnston and that in itself looks significant. As a well-bred filly with a win to her name, she could have been retired to the paddocks but the effort has been made to get her back on the racecourse. The Middleham maestro Mr Johnston does well with his raiders here and this filly travels here alone.

If things are not to be for Kosika, the six-year-old Aqua Ardens could be the beneficiary. Although handicapped to the hilt and sometimes tricky in a finish, he has a proven record here and that, as mentioned previously, counts for plenty.

If at the end of the card, your profit or loss doesn't stretch to a 5-star restaurant, then you can always fall back on a pizza. ‘Papa Johns' have a branch on the Preston Road and deliver across Brighton, with a number of great offers and deals. I quite favour pineapple and spicy sausage on mine but something for every taste!

19.25 Brighton - frosts4Cars.co.uk Handicap (CLASS 6) (4yo+ 0-60) 6f209y

Charles Hills' colt Red Invader is sure to be popular for this 7f handicap as he has a lot less convictions than many of these. Last time out at Southwell, he broke his duck in reasonable style and could build on that but it wasn't a great race and the form of the yard (1-34 last 2-weeks) is not what I would have expected at this stage of the season.

If I take him on, it is not an easy call what with. Athletic is the obvious one as his recent polytrack form is way above his much lower turf mark. The change of surface is a risk but more off-putting is that the five-year-old is notably tricky, so he needs everything to fall just right.

All things considered I will take a chance on MRS WARREN. Trainer George Baker's horses are running well as a collective and that helps alleviate any concerns about this filly's fitness after a break. It will probably take a career-best performance from her to win this and I wouldn't be sure the seventh furlong is really what she wants given her pedigree. The racecourse evidence is counter to that though as her sole win came at Catterick over 7f. No headgear fitted today (tried in cheekpieces & blinkers last season) and I would like to see some market confidence.

OK, so by now you have backed six winners and are wondering what to spend the money on; possibly. Frost 4 Cars have in stock a wide range of cars available to suit every budget with a range of finance deals. I quite liked the look of the little Fiat 500 in white so my Lucky 63 will be placed with that in mind!

19.55 Brighton - Streamline Taxis Handicap (CLASS 5) (3yo 0-70) 5f209y

Not too many go to post for the finale but it is a tricky race to solve nonetheless. Miss Brazil ran way below expectations on her seasonal bow a couple of weeks ago but the mile on soft ground was never ever going to suit and dropping back to 6f could see her do much better. It is interesting that she has 4-entries in the next 4-days and so connections presumably also think she can leave her last run behind.

Tempted though I am by Miss Brazil, the vote just goes to BALTIC BRAVE from the yard of Hughie Morrison. I tend to think when horses are rushed through their 3-qualifying runs very quickly; connections have their eye on a handicap mark. This half-brother to 3-winners improved steadily each time during a busy month at the end of the last turf season and after a break and with a tongue-tie fitted, he could be set to go well.

Of the rest, Bowsers Bold should do better this season and his yard is going well. Money for him would be interesting and a good sign. Flashy Queen is happier on grass and went close here last year so has claims. Maybe she lacks the scope of some though and will need to find something to defy a mark of 70.

Billy works as a pundit for both www.betracingnation.com and www.tiptv.co.uk

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Billy Blakeman @five2tenracing