SIDE WITH FRONT RUNNERS AT RIPON
The William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap is the best handicap of the day at Ripon. A maximum field of twenty runners go to post in a cracking sprint contest.
Staxton has been primed to defend his win in this race last season. He is just 4lbs higher than last season in the ratings and won nicely here over the same trip on fast ground in April. In fact his record at Ripon is excellent reading 235111. It was always thought he needed some cut in the ground, but he has proved versatile on that front the past two seasons. I like to back prominent runners in this race and Staxton should be up there amongst those draw low. Duran Fentiman resumes the winning partnership having ridden Staxton on all three course wins for trainer Tim Easterby.
Justanotherbottle is dangerously handicapped on his current mark of 92 wearing first time blinkers. He has landed a plum draw in stall 19 where he can grab the rail and try and win this race off the front setting his own pace. We can easily forgive him his latest three runs where the ground was to soft while at Newcastle he got upset in the stalls and that is a stiff six furlongs. Last April he finished second to Mondammej at Pontefract over five furlongs on fast ground showing he retains lots of ability. That winner Mondammej was in receipt of a massive 18lbs and has subsequently gone up 11lbs in the handicap following several good runs. The handicapper has relented dropping Justanotherbottle down 5lbs to a mark of 92. Who can forget the dramatic finish of the Stewards Cup in 2018 when our selection Gift Master robbed Justanotherbottle on the line over 6 furlongs on fast ground when Justanotherbottle was rated 101. At a big price and with the ground drying all the time we take a punt on Justanotherbottle.
Ripon - 3:45
0.5 Point Each Way Staxton 7/1 Paddy Power & Betfair SB, both paying 6 places.
0.5 Point Each Way Justanotherbottle 16/1 William Hill & Skybet, both paying 7 places.