Easterby duo are the best bets in Investec ‘Dash’

THE Investec Entrepreneurial Class ‘Dash’ (3.15pm) is widely regarded as the quickest five furlong sprint anywhere in the world. You need a horse that can break quickly, hold its position on the downhill run and then power clear entering the final half furlong. However, there aren’t many other contests where the draw can have more of a bearing than in this race and you really need to be drawn high if you are to hold any chance.

Last year the first three home were drawn 15-14-16 and the winners of the previous four contests were housed in stalls 18, eight, 15 and 17. The fact that only two horses from single-figure draws have made the frame in the last five years underlines how big the bias is and they were both in eight, so you can all but discount those drawn lower.

David Nicholls is the sprint king and has won this race four times in the last nine years, so all of his runners have to be closely examined. He always comes to these races mob-handed and he saddles five of the 16 runners this afternoon. The one I was most interested in a few days ago was Masta Plasta, as he ran a stormer to finish fifth in this race last year from stall two. Remarkably he has been given exactly the same berth and that should put paid to his chances.

The rest of Nicholls’ runners have been rather more fortunate as Falasteen (12), Fathom Five (17), Strike Up The Band (11) and Indian Trail (16) are all in double figures. Strike Up The Band has been a magnificent servant but he isn’t getting any younger and it would be a surprise if he was good enough. Indian Trail has a cracking draw, and won this race two years ago, but he isn’t far from collecting his pension now aged 11 and will surely struggle to live with some of the younger ones.

Fathom Five has to be of interest as he has won twice over course and distance. That said, he was drawn 18 in this last year and could finish only seventh after missing the break. His comeback run at Chester was also disappointing, so he is passed over. Falasteen, on the other hand, was a hugely impressive winner of the sprint here at the spring meeting and the key to him is breaking quickly from the traps. His hood needs to be removed very late, as he is a bit of a monkey, and he could be one for in-running Betdaq punters if he does blast out of the stalls.

I’m going to dodge the Nicholls battalion, though, as I think Tim Easterby can spoil the party. CAPTAIN DUNNE is a hugely improved animal and he was desperately unlucky not to win a Group 3 at Longchamp last time. Prior to that he finished a close second to Doctor Parkes at Chester with today’s rival Masamah 1 ¼ lengths back in third. He is 3lb better off with that rival and I fancy him to confirm the form. His draw in eight isn’t ideal, but it isn’t the worst, either, and he was only beaten a short-head in this race two years ago, so we know he handles the track.

I would also advise backing Easterby’s other runner CONFESSIONAL each-way. He is better drawn than his stablemate in 13 and there were excuses for his poor showing at York last time. He won a hot sprint at Haydock in September and was only just behind Captain Dunne and Masamah at Chester last month. This is exactly the type of horse his trainer excels with and he is worthy of an each-way interest at 16/1 with William Hill.

Going back to Masamah and you really can’t leave him out of your calculations. Following his Chester run, he went on to reverse the form with Doctor Parkes at York and Kevin Ryan’s yard is absolutely flying. He’s 7/1 with William Hill and that is probably the right price, but I just think he will struggle to beat Captain Dunne. Ryan’s other runners Oldjoesaid (3) and Perfect Blossom (6) are both live outsiders, but they haven’t been lucky with the draw.

Last year’s winner Bertoliver can race off the same mark but his trainer Stuart Williams won’t be happy with stall four. Richard Fahey is always a man to follow in these events and his Arctic Feeling looks to have a better chance than Jamesway. He’s well housed in 15 compared with his stablemate in five, but his form this year is nothing to write home about.

Beat The Bell ran well to finish second to Falasteen here in April, so isn’t out of it from stall seven for the in-form David Barron, but Hughie Morrison’s Sohraab has a mountain to climb from trap one. La Fortunata has sneaked in at the bottom of the weights and has finished second in both her visits here, so wouldn’t be without a chance from the 10 box.