4:40 Chelmsford Racing Tips (22nd January) TOTEPLACEPOT MAIDEN AUCTION STAKES (CLASS 5) (3yo)

A Maiden Auction Stakes over 1m on standard going. Just over a handful of three-year-olds: four geldings and two colts, including a couple of debutantes. 

The last few days I've forwarded a brace of Phillip McBride tip selections and today we will see another in Virtual Reality. The tips finished respectably: runner-up and fourth place. I'm hopeful this bay gelding, a son of Virtual out of a winning mare, can go well after showing promise when fancied on debut at Wolverhampton over 7f. 

This youngster was bred by Cheveley Park Stud but went through the sales ring fetching 15,000gns when sold by Tattersalls December Yearling Sales 2013, purchase by Phillip McBride Racing. 

Virtual Reality ran pretty well on his first start when taking part in a restricted auction stakes in a small field. The form of that race is nothing out of the ordinary but on the other side of the coin this April foal was relatively fancied in the betting [4-1] and looked to need the run when starting slowly and then running on all too late to finish third. 

With just over one month on the sidelines, stepping up in distance, you can be sure this horse will be primed for a big run. 

It is interesting that McBride gives seven-pound apprentice Tom Marquand the ride. This young man has show form for the stable and looks good value for his allowance. I imagine they consider this horse is straightforward. 

It's difficult to tell what price this horse will be but if the price is big enough I'd back this horse each-way. If short, probably best watched although a bold show is expected. 

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