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Catterick best bet: Drop in trip should suit Rain Cap in wide-open contest

The recent heavy rain has resulted in numerous non-runners across Catterick’s card on Thursday, but this five-furlong sprint has enough survivors to provide the prospect of a cracking contest.

14:40 Catterick:  Hillcrest Who Cares Wins Handicap  (5 furlongs)

If we can realistically discount the chances of the two outsiders, then we are left with six capable sprinters who are covered by barely a single betting point in the market, such is the open nature of this dash over the minimum trip.

Declan Carroll’s Irish Dancer is just about the tentative early favourite after three improving runs over the last month culminated in a close-up second over this course and distance ten days ago.

He runs off the same mark here and will once again benefit further from Zak Wheatley’s five-pound claim, and he might just need it as this heavier ground will prove much more testing than the good going he enjoyed last week.

That puts a similar question mark over top-weighted Resilience, whose best work has also been on firmer all-weather tracks, including a couple of decent frame finishes when last seen at Southwell and Wolverhampton in January.

The same argument could be made against the chances of Birkenhead, although Paul Midgley’s seven-year-old has won over this course and distance and shaped up well to finish third of 13 over the same trip here last week, albeit again with the caveat of being run on much better ground.

Polam Lane enjoyed an impressive 2022 campaign, including a course-distance win on his penultimate outing, but he is probably best swerved from a betting perspective after such a long absence.

Canaria Prince and Onefortheladies also merit consideration, but the final nod from the Tipstrr collective goes in the direction of John Riches’ gelding, Rain Cap, who should be ready to up his game after blowing his winter cobwebs away at this course ten days ago.

Suggested best bet: Rain Cap in the 14:40 at Catterick

His 40/1 odds that day gave an indication of low expectations for his return to action after seven months off, and he duly looked in need of the run when trailing in last of the 14 starters.

However, that performance should not overshadow this seven-year-old’s capabilities that have yielded seven career victories, four of which have been at this venue, including over seven furlongs here last July.

If last week’s effort served as a pipe-opening run-out, then he could be geared up for a positive response over this shorter trip, especially now reunited with his usual rider, Sean Kirrane, who was absent last week but who is clearly well-equipped to bring the best out of Rain Cap in a race of this nature.

READ MORE: Lingfield racing tips: Best bets for Thursday May 23

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