THE Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire and Eglinton fixture at Overton Farm, Crossford usually attracts one of the biggest crowds on the Northern Area circuit and today’s renewal should be no exception.
There are 76 entries for a seven-race card which starts at 1pm, with the main action preceded at noon by two pony races.
On the face of it, form figures over the last two years of U52-UPP for The Brig At Ayr don’t inspire much confidence.
However, I can see him coming up trumps at a decent price in the three-mile Open Maiden Race. Formerly trained by John Weymes, this lightly-raced eight-year-old gelding was beaten less than five lengths when second of 11 over fences at Catterick in March 2010, having previously caught the eye at Sedgefield.
His current handler, John Leadbetter, knows the time of day when it comes to producing one of his team fit enough to win first time out, as proven by Another Dark Rum at the corresponding meeting last year. The main threat to my selection is likely to come from Mersey and Red Myst.
On his last visit to Crossford in February, Senor Alco had the prize sewn up when falling three out. However, Victor Thompson’s charge made amends when scoring at Alnwick two starts later.
He showed a smart change of gear that day and is fancied to strike again from Native Coll and Windy Hills in the NPPA Club Members’ Race.
The former Ferdy Murphy-trained chaser, Leading Man heads the eight entries for the Confined Race.
Despite being off the track for 678 days since breaking down at Uttoxeter, Vicki Dobbin’s evergreen 12-year-old makes more appeal than last year’s course winners, Commercial Express and Almost Blue.
Kisha King can call the tune in the Ladies Open Race. At his best on good or sound surfaces, he won six times in 2009 when trained in Wales by David Rees.
Monogram has been a model of consistency this season, having won once and been placed four times from five starts.
He stayed on strongly from the last when only beaten a length by Supreme Plan at Catterick earlier in the month, having previously gone down by a head to Harmony Brig at Crossford in February.
Tristan Davidson’s mount is taken to reverse placings with his arch rival when they cross swords again in the Men’s Open Race.
The dark horse is Twelve Paces, who has been out of form since landing a Perth Handicap Chase in August 2010 and, as a result, his official rating has dropped from 130 to 75. He is just the type to be rejuvenated by a change of scenery.
Former Irish pointer Tommysteel finished nine lengths third to Accordingtotheboss at Alnwick a fortnight ago and anything similar to that level of form will put him right in the firing line in the two and a half mile Open Maiden Race.
Honest and True and Safari Dancer are the pick of the other 16 entries, however both of them had hard races at Kelso last week and may need more recovery time.