The youngster has finished fourth on his last three starts, improving with each effort and was unlucky when denied a clear run and beaten just three lengths into fourth on this course early in August. That was off a mark of 62 and he has dropped a couple of pounds in the ratings since then, despite another fair effort when fourth again at Beverley recently. The third horse there went back to the Humberside track to win earlier this week to give the form a boost and it’s worth noting that trainer Bryan Smart fits blinkers to his youngster for the first time in the Royal Scots Club Nursery (2.40). Smart is operating at an 11 per cent strike rate this year, does well at Musselburgh and, with Graham Lee on board, Tick Tock Croc can strike a winning note.
Suwaan has to concede weight to all his rivals in the USB Wealth Management Confined Handicap (3.45), but still has plenty going for him.
The race is limited to horses who have not won a race on the flat this year, but Suwaan has gone pretty close in his last outings. He was second at Newcastle in June and then had a 94-day break during which the four-year-old had wind surgery.
He returned to action here three weeks ago and looked set to score until headed inside the final furlong and finishing runner-up again. A winner over this course and distance in August of last year, he has clearly benefited from that recent operation and gets the vote.
Our Place in Louie has won two of his eight starts this year and can round off a successful season by taking the concluding Western Toyota Landcruiser Apprentice Handicap (5.25) which closes the card. The gelding scored at Hamilton back in June and and was successful over course and distance here three weeks ago when he led over a furlong out and then held on gamely to prevail by a narrow margin in a photo finish. He has top weight, but will have the assistance of Phil Dennis – one of the most experienced lads in the line-up.
Pride’s Gold was too backward to run as a juvenile, but has some glowing form in five starts so far this year. She was third on her debut at Wolverhampton in April and then runner-up at Redcar on her first start on turf before winning in good style back at Wolverhampton in June when she made all the running.
Connections clearly rate the three-year-old, who was then pitched into top company in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot. She was always in midfield in that top-class mile event, but was far from disgraced and regained winning form back at Wolverhampton after a nine-week break. She has to give weight away to her elders in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap (4.20), but can make the long trip from Simon Crisford’s Newmarket yard pay off.
Selections: 2.40 Tick Tock Croc; 3.45 Suwaan; 4.20 Pride’s Gold; 5.25 Our Place in Louie.