Ripon Tips: Stressfree start to the season for O’Meara

 | 18th April | 

3 mins read

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A new term commences at Yorkshire's Garden Racecourse on Thursday as Ripon stage their season-opener for another Flat campaign.

They get underway at 13:57 and have seven races in all, concluding at 17:25, with the features including the Ripon Silver Bowl Handicap (15:07) and the Armstrong Memorial Handicap (16:17).

Ripon Tips - Thursday, April 18

  • 15:07 – Vince L'amour @ 10/3
  • 15:42 – Stressfree @ 2/1
  • 16:17 – Fools Rush In @ 6/1

15:07 – Vince L'amour @ 10/3

The Ripon Silver Bowl Handicap over six furlongs is amongst the key contests on their season-opening card and VINCE L'AMOUR is one to note for trainer Tim Easterby in the hands of David Allan.

The Invincible Army gelding has the benefit of a recent run under his belt. He showed promise in three turf starts last year over 5f/6f on ground ranging from good-to-soft to good-to-firm and built on that in his comeback this month at Catterick (5f, heavy).

While beaten five-lengths at the line in finishing fourth, it's worth factoring in that he ploughed a lonely furrow up the near side running rail for much of that contest, while the principles were wide apart across the track.

He has been eased 1lb by the handicapper for that effort and, back over 6f, he might well take a step forward with that run behind him.

15:42 – Stressfree @ 2/1

David O'Meara has trained more winners at Ripon (105) than any other turf course and he can start the new term on a good note by landing the Ripon 'Cock O' The North' Handicap with STRESSFREE.

The gelding arrived from France last summer having won a 1m1f soft-ground Longchamp maiden. He has since enjoyed solid efforts at Redcar (1m2f, good) and Ayr (1m2f, soft) and then opened his account for this handler at the third time of asking, taking out a Nottingham handicap (1m2f, heavy) in October off a mark of 81 in determined fashion despite the concession of a stone and more to the runner-up.

Stressfree reappeared from 4lb higher at last month's Lincoln Meeting at Doncaster (1m2f, soft) and finished a clear second behind lightly-raced improver Qitaal, having his first start for Charlie Johnston after some 687 days out and making light of an opening mark of 77.

That likely amounted to improved form from Stressfree and with no concerns on the forecast ground, he should be capable of another step up now.

16:17 – Fools Rush In @ 6/1

This card features a trio of Class 4 races and the third of them is the Armstrong Memorial Handicap over six furlongs at 16:17 with 13 declared.

It looks wide open, with Illusionist possibly going to head the betting after a near miss at Thirsk last week.

He has a strike-rate on turf of 4-32 and must prove he can back that run up.

Another of the contenders could be FOOLS RUSH IN, who is debuting for new trainer Ruth Carr here having left Jim Goldie over the winter.

The Mehmas gelding underwent a wind op in his downtime and while he's without a win since July 2022, he's now rated 16lb lower.

His last four wins have come on good-to-soft or worse and he is a dual scorer at this trip. He won on seasonal comeback in 2021 and then went close at Chester in 2022 after a stable switch.

The latest change of scenery, allied to this much-reduced rating, could make him a major contender if he can find the sort of effort that saw him go close in a Class 2 event at Ayr in September on his previous turf outing.

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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