No shortage of choice today with five Flat meetings, so let’s crack straight on.
I rarely bet in races for two-year-olds but I thought the generally available 13-2 about River Café was very fair.
She shaped nicely when fourth at Lingfield first time out and the stable tend to leave a lot to work on with their juveniles, with Holdenhurst (12-1) and Sancerre (9-4) winners on their second start this season.
Her dam handled soft ground well and the form of that Lingfield race could be OK, with the runner-up coming out and winning at Kempton next time (the winner, third and fifth have not run since).
Topology looks very solid here at the general 11-4. He ran OK when fifth at Epsom last time, has been dropped 2lb for it and the step back up to 7f on soft ground will suit. The only time he has encountered testing ground he finished a good third at Windsor last season (off a 19lb higher mark than this), and this 0-60 represents a fair class drop for him.
Cornerstone Lad looks well worth chancing at 11-1 with bet365 in this 1m4f handicap. There are doubts about his ability to act on the soft ground given he ran atrociously on it over course and distance in July, his one and only start on testing ground to date, but I am inclined to put that down to an off-day rather than blame the going.
It could be telling that he was given a six-week break after that run, and he ran better over 1m6f at Catterick last time. He has been dropped 2lb for that run, and he is 1lb lower than when third over track and trip earlier in the season.
His earlier second to the progressive, dual subsequent scorer Barwell at Ripon (on good to soft ground) reads well in the context of this race and this hold-up performer should be well suited by the likely quick tempo of this race given at least three of his rivals like to force the pace.
Hopefully, Champagne Champ has not been soured by running over 2m in heavy ground at Ffos Las last time because if he hasn’t then he represents a decent bet at 11-2.
He won this race off a 2lb lower mark last season, when he also finished a good second over course and distance in soft ground.
This trip with a bit of ease in the ground look to be his optimum conditions, and at least he has been dropped 1lb for that Ffos Las slog last time.
Tony Calvin’s best bets for Monday:
2.35 Salisbury: River Café at a general 13-2
3.35 Salisbury: Topology at a general 11-4
4.25 Pontefract: Cornerstone Lad at 11-1 with bet365