By Geoffrey Riddle
Alain Prost, the legendary four-time Formula One champion, popped up last week to pay tribute to Usain Bolt before the sprinter was slowly away to finish third to Justin Gatlin in 100 metres at the World Athletics Championship on Saturday.
The pint-sized Frenchman admitted he would be embarrassed to size-up to the gigantic Bolt, who could never quite make up the ground he lost during the early stages of the big sprint.
What this all has to do with Monday’s racing is that Prost, the racehorse, hopefully will be a touch better than Bolt at eating up ground late at Windsor in the Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap tonight.
The likes of course specialist Sir Plato, Carnival King and Calvados Spirit could make this extended mile contest a real test, and Harry Bentley will have to get it spot on aboard Ed Vaughan’s 3-1 chance - he was 7-2 earlier this morning.
Prost was held up by Osin Murphy in an unspectacular handicap debut a month ago, but that was a much better race that has worked out very well.
Prost has already showed a level of form comparable to his five rivals and as the most lightly-raced runner with just four starts under his girth there should be more to come.
The Peter Symonds Catering Handicap at Salisbury looks wildly competitive, and most of the action could well take place on the front end. Bridge Builder, Miss Icon, Evening Starlight, and Montemiata all like to get on with it and I am basically hoping they go off too fast. As there appears to be little between the 10-runner field, it may be worth siding with hold-up performer Wild Dancer.
The four-year-old has yet to win in two runs this season, and both of those performances were characterized by slow starts. Hector Crouch, who was aboard both times the filly won last year, takes off a useful 3lbs in such a race and can galvanise his partner in to a better performance at 14-1. Go each-way.
Later on the card it might pay to stick with Adam Kirby from the front in the Bathwick Tyres Fillies’ Handicap.
Kirby is on Nathania, possibly the sole front-runner in a field of eight and it is perfectly possible he gets an uncontested lead on the daughter of Nathaniel.
The lightly-raced Lightning Dance is also by the King George and Coral-Eclipse winner, however, and should relish this step up in trip to 12 furlongs. Amanda Perrett’s charge has been running with credit over ten furlongs and now has a fair mark for stepping up to the sort of distances she was bred for.
Clubbable may well be underrated in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Ripon after she appeared to get the hang of things last time against the boys in a Hamilton novice.
Richard Fahey’s filly did not look as if she was going to justify her 3-1 price 17 days ago coming to the furlong pole but Paul Hanagan got a wonderful tune out of her in the closing stages.
The daughter of sprinter Mayson finished with a real flourish, having looked like her jockey had gone too soon, and was only edged out by Han Solo Berger by a nose.
That performance against colts over today’s trip will stand her in good stead. Fahey trained the sire to win the July Cup in atrocious conditions so it may just be that she will prefer the good ground, rather than the good to firm surface when third on her debut. The 6-1 looks fair.
Roger Varian and Silvestre De Sousa team up with 6-4 favourite Elation, after her encouraging debut at Newbury on the same day. The daughter of Invincible Spirit finished only fifth, having been sent off the 100-30 second favourite, but she slipped on leaving the stalls, so the performance can certainly be marked up.
Geoffrey Riddle's Monday tips:
2.15 Ripon: Clubbable at 6-1 generally available
3.00 Salibury: Wild Dancer at 14-1 each-way generally available
5.00: Salisbury: Lightning Dance at 9-2 with Coral