Ripon preview: Honeysuckle can blossom now eased in grade


Honeysuckle Lil shaped as if coming to the boil last time out, and can take advantage of a drop in the weights to land the 6f handicap on today’s card at Ripon (16.25) now eased in grade.

This Tim Easterby trained filly shaped with plenty of promise on her first two starts last season, before showing marked improvement to win a 6f maiden at Newcastle in good style.

The daughter of Alfred Noble still looked green, but showed plenty of dash to chase the leaders before staying on strongly inside the last to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths from Flicka’s Boy.

It was an effort which suggested Honeysuckle Lil needing keeping onside. The form of the race is pretty decent, as the runner-up had previously run well to finish third behind the classy ToocoolforSchool at Ripon and a decent second to Primrose Valley at Newcastle.

Honeysuckle Lil was allotted an opening mark of 77 on the back of that success and was far from disgraced off it when seventh of 12 to Roossey in a class 2 nursery at Ayr.

Since then, Easterby’s filly has failed to trouble the judged in four subsequent starts, but is now able to race off just 67 as a result and comes into this class 5 contest having posted an improved effort, having caught the eye at Haydock 11 days ago in a competitive class 4 affair.

Honeysuckle Lil showed plenty of dash to lead until being headed approaching the final furlong, and weakening to finish fifth of 13 to Scalzo.

Although beaten 10 3/4 lengths, Honeysuckle Lil paid the price for going off too hard, and it was an effort which suggested her time was near.

In the 1m 2f handicap (15.25), Memory Cloth has plenty going for him having slipped back down the weights.

The Brian Ellison trained gelding rattled up a hat-trick of successes in the early part of last season, with the last of those victories coming at Haydock off a mark of 77.

Memory Cloth went on to finish an excellent runner-up at Newcastle off 81 and a solid fourth at Carlisle off 82, and is now able to compete off 77 again having shaped well in two starts this season.

That gives the eight-year-old every chance from a handicapping perspective, and Memory Cloth is versatile as regards going and won’t be inconvenienced by any further rain which hits the track.

14.25: Just A Groove
14.55: Taraz
15.25: Memory Cloth (NB)
15.55: Indy
16.25: Honeysuckle Lil (NAP)
16.55: Synodic
17.25: Valantino Oyster

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