IN-FORM trainer Michael Dods has the wind in his sails as he heads into Redcar’s Caribbean Carnival Day tomorrow (Saturday) and is strongly fancied to plunder the last race with the progressive Vindicator.

Dods, who trains at Denton, near Darlington, has had 11 wins out of 40 runners over the past two weeks – a strike rate of 28 per cent – and he’s heading for his best season yet.

Vindicator stayed on well to beat Sheriff Garrett over 1 mile 4f at Thirsk on good to soft ground last week and shaped as though this extra furlong will suit him. He has to carry a 7lb penalty but he has the look of an improving horse.

Loading article content

After Kiwi Bay’s 13th win at the last meeting, Dods knows all about the value of course specialists so Vindicator may well have most to fear from Ronnie Barr’s Midnight Warrior, a three-time course and distance winner. This trip looks spot on and he edged out Jan de Heem here last month.

It would be no great surprise if Dods’ consistent Aprovado, another course and distance winner, also prevailed in the All New racinguk.com Handicap at 2.40pm. However, Jim Goldie’s Tommy G went close in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Goodwood last week, likes cut in the ground, and will be tough to beat.

The meeting kicks off with a seller, which won’t take a lot of winning, and Richmond trainer Philip Kirby looks most likely to take the spoils with Silverlight, a decent enough second to Tie Em Up in a Thirsk seller on his debut. Franny Norton rides Tom Dascombe’s Cheshire raider, Sausage Fingers, but the likely favourite hasn’t exactly sizzled in his four runs so far.

Ismail Mohammed brings Bassmah from Newmarket and the Harbour Watch filly will be odds-on to break a sequence of three seconds in every start this season. She appears to be the best in the race but doesn’t look the sort to put the house on. Julie Camacho’s Chosen World was a decent sixth first time out at Doncaster and looks the most likely to cause an upset.

The Market Cross Jewellers Handicap at 3.15pm looks a tricky affair. David O’Meara’s Hajjam was a promising third behind Pursuing Steed at Leicester on good to soft on July 26 and could go close. However, the nod goes to Richard Fahey’s Right Action who did well to recover after rearing at the start at Thirsk on his last appearance, eventually finishing third to stablemate Aimez La Vie.

Malton’s Tim Easterby is in good fettle and, in the fifth race, his Ventura Secret will be fancied to follow-up last Wednesday’s win in similar conditions at Pontefract. However, this is a better race and Strong Steps, recently acquired by Jim Goldie, makes more appeal. He won at Ayr on his latest outing and, although he carries top weight, he’s won off a higher mark.

Mick Easterby, Tim’s evergreen uncle, will fancy his chances of landing the sixth race with Hernando Torres. He won at Hamilton in July before finishing second at Chepstow and it’s a case of striking while the iron’s hot. He may have most to fear from Richard Guest’s Polar Forest, a winner at Beverley on good to soft at the start of the month.