The Smarkets Betting Exchange Handicap (6.15) at Carlisle on Monday looks competitive enough, as do all the races on the card, but Eastern Racer makes a swift reappearance after winning a similar race in convincing style at Thirsk on Friday and can complete a hat-trick. The testing sprint course at Carlisle is a different kettle of fish from that at Thirsk, which is fairly sharp, but Brian Ellison’s six-year-old is 1lb lower in the weights here and, from a handicapping perspective, has an obvious chance.
He’s been tried over 7 furlongs a few times, without success, but he should cope with this stiffer test of stamina over 6 furlongs and, if he does, he may be able to show his rivals a clean pair of heels once again. He’s shouldered with top weight, but carried that 10st 4lb, less Kieran Schofield’s 2lb allowance, to victory at Thirsk, so shouldn’t be unduly inconvenienced by his welter burden. Furthermore, apprentice Izzy Clifton – who has only had two rides in public, but finished second on 40/1 chance Fortinbrass in a 6-furlong handicap at Redcar last Wednesday – has a 5lb allowance to compensate for her inexperience. Any draw bias over 6 furlongs at Carlisle is only minimal in any case, but stall eight of 11 is a good as any.
All in all, there’s plenty to like about Eastern Racer and, with the yard in decent form – including an across-the-card treble of Friday – he looks a decent bet to provide his young rider with a landmark first victory.
Selection: Carlisle 6.15 Eastern Racer to win 7/4