1:50 – Catterick – WEATHERBYS HAMILTON INSURANCE HANDICAP (DIV I) (CLASS 4) (3yo+ 0-85) Soft 7f
Solar Spirit has to put a poor run behind him when he finished down the field at Pontefract 8 days ago, but the 7 year old bay gelding needs more than a second glance when he is running at Catterick as in nine visits to the track he has won three times and been placed four times giving a combined win and place strike rate of 77.7%.
Solar Spirit is trained by Tracy Waggott who has a small yard at Spennymoor and she is having her best flat season with 15 winners to date, since 2008 when she recorded 18 wins. Her record looks all the better considering that she has only had 28 horses running on the flat this season. Solar Spirit is her top rated horse and he has also recorded the most wins for her this season, winning three times, twice at Catterick and once on the all weather at Wolverhampton two starts back.
Solar Spirit runs over 7 furlongs this afternoon and has a record of two wins and four placed efforts from fifteen runs over the trip. His record at Catterick over the distance is two wins and three placed efforts from five runs. The going at Catterick is Soft and Solar Spirit has won twice and been placed twice from eight runs in Soft ground.
He is ridden by Graham Lee for the third time today. Graham rode him on his last start at Pontefract so will have a better idea of how to ride him to best effect today. Graham is having a very good first season on the flat since switching from the National Hunt. He has ridden 70 winners to date this season, including 6 winners and 12 placed efforts from just 25 rides in the past week.
Not only will Solar Spirit have to put a poor run behind him but he will also have to win from a mark 2lbs higher than his previous best which came over 6 furlongs at Catterick in June. However, his two wins at Catterick this season have come when he has been held up and tracked the leaders before being ridden a furlong out to take the lead. These tactics should be ideal today as there is plenty of pace in the race and it is likely that the front runners will take each other on giving Solar Spirit the opportunity to run through beaten horses in the closing stages of the race. Given his course and distance record a price of 6/1 looks good value.