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Windsor best bets: Nap Hand holds the aces, Thapa VC has outsider appeal

While all eyes will be on Royal Ascot throughout the rest of the week, less than 10 miles up the road a decent seven-race card at Windsor provides the stage for an ideal pre-Festival curtain-raiser.

20:00 Windsor: Fitzdares June Handicap  (1 mile 31 yards)

If the betting market is a reliable yardstick, then Metabolt appears to be the strongest fancy here, and as a previous course-and-distance winner who also landed a seven-runner handicap at Leicester last time out a fortnight ago, David Loughnane’s looks the one to beat under in-form Rossa Ryan.

The bookies have another course-distance winner High Spirited as the favourite’s most likely challenger, but the four-year-old can sometimes live up to his name a little too much, and that unreliability suggests that the Alan King-trained Nap Hand could be a better option.

Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Nap Hand finishes in the first 3 places, get a £5 Free Bet

A six-furlong winner on career debut at Salisbury almost exactly two years ago, he enjoyed a couple of all-weather near misses in autumn of that year before a combination of issues saw him away from the track for a full 18 months.

There were plenty of cobwebs to be blown away on his reappearance at Kempton last month, but all things considered he was far from disgraced in coming fifth of 12, barely 1½ lengths behind the winner.

After that pipe-opener Nap hand is entitled to take a further step forward in similar company here, and in the capable hands of Ross Coakley the four-year-old merits serious consideration here.

Suggested bet: Nap Hand each-way in the 20:00 at Windsor

 

For those bettors of a more adventurous disposition, then bottom-weight Thapa VC looks interesting if able to shrug off a sub-par performance last time out at Kempton last month.

That setback came just two weeks after a much more characteristic showing at the same venue, when Mark Rimell’s six-year-old got his head in front of ten rivals to land his ninth career success on synthetic surfaces.

His solitary turf success came over seven furlongs at Yarmouth in May last year when conditions were similar to those he will find at Windsor. 

There is a question-mark over this step-up to a mile, but if he gets the trip then David Probert could be positioning Thapa VC into a more concerted challenge than his outsider odds might suggest.

Outsider punt: Thapa VC each-way in the 20:00 at Windsor

 

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