Racing Tips Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle

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Nicky Henderson’s Consul De Thaix is given a strong chance by the Oddsguru on Saturday

Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle 2m Ascot Saturday  – Sponsored by the Ladbroke organisation since it’s inception in 2001, it is to be run this year as the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap. Due to weather, and the rebuilding of Ascot,  there have only been twelve renewals of the contest, and the most successful trainers have been Nicky Henderson, with three winners, and Irish handler, Gordon Elliott with two,( both in the last four years). Inexperience has been no bar to success, with seven of the last eleven winners having raced only seven times or less over hurdles in Britain or Ireland. Good recent form has been important, as seven of the last eight first past the post, had managed a top three finish in their previous race. Last year, Oddsguru followers, while celebrating, had to put up with a reduced dividend, when the Philip Hobbs trained 4yo Sternrubin, under an inspired ride from R.Johnson, got up in the shadow of the post to force a dead heat with our selection, the Harry Fry trained 6yo Jollys Cracked It. They meet again on Saturday and there seems to be plenty of confidence in the market that the Fry runner can stage a repeat.

Jolly’s Cracked It sustained a minor injury after last year’s race which has kept him on the sidelines since, but his top trainer, reports him fit and ready to run. He has had four races over the Berkshire track winning three of them and being placed on the other occasion so from a mark only 6lbs higher than last year he looks to have a serious chance at the weekend, particularly if we get some rain.

Last year’s co-winner, Sternrubin gained his victory off a mark of 134, and won on his reappearance over course and distance in October, racing off an 8lbs higher mark. He had Saturday’s opponent, Modus, 1/2L and a neck behind in third, but two weeks later in a Cheltenham handicap Sternrubin was a disappointing 5th, finishing ten lengths behind Modus, who finished 2nd, and despite a 6lbs swing the Nicholls contender now looks the more likely of the two to come out on top.

Newbury Races

Could Modus give Paul Nicholls his first winner in the race?

Despite having had fourteen runners in the contest, a win has eluded the Master of Ditcheat but Modus does look just the type to fill in this gap in the Nicholls CV. A winner of two of his seven starts over hurdles the tough and consistent 6yo ran another solid race last time when only failing by 1/2L to better the well handicapped North Hill Harvey at Cheltenham five weeks ago. He has been put up, rather harshly in my opinion, another 5lbs for Saturday’s contest, but strikes me as the type from whom there is plenty more to come.

Two of Nicky Henderson’s entries, the 5yo, Brain Power, and the 4yo Consul De Thaix met in a Sandown handicap two weeks ago, with the 5yo prevailing by 3/4L. There are sound reasons to think that positions can be reversed at the weekend as the winner had the benefit of a run three weeks earlier, while the very inexperienced runner up was having his first run since finishing 10th in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. He also meets his stable companion on 4lbs better terms so this clearly progressive animal looks nicely handicapped on a mark of 135 giving him a nice racing weight of 10st10lbs and has to be on the shortlist.

Without a winner in the contest prior to 2012, Irish Stables had a particularly poor record until Gordon Elliott won with Cause of Causes, and as he repeated the dose two years later with Bayan, his 5yo Mick Jazz demands a second look. Previously trained by Harry Fry for whom he failed to hit the back of the net, he made a winning debut for his new yard in a Clonmel Maiden at the end of October. He finished 2nd in a Navan Grade 3 seventeen days later, and despite not getting the run of the race, continued to progress when finishing third in a valuable Fairyhouse Handicap thirteen days ago. Not badly treated on a mark of 141 he is worth considering.

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Derrick Trotter would surely be keen on the chances of (he) Who Dares Wins (Rodney)

Alan King won this with Raya Star in 2011 and will be hoping for a repeat with his progressive 4yo Who Dares Wins. He was only having his fourth race over hurdles when finishing out the back in the Triumph Hurdle, but his three runs this term have been much more positive. He made a good start to the present campaign when finishing 4th to Ballyoptic in a valuable Chepstow Grade3 in October, and was going ok when unseating at Cheltenham five weeks later. However it was last time that he really showed what he could do, when coming home 9L clear of the field in a Class1 Newbury handicap off a mark of 140. He is set to carry 11st10lbs on Saturday and will have to put up a weight carrying record to win, but that Newbury performance was impressive.

Selection: Consul De Thaix (if abs. Who Dares Wins)

E.W.      : Modus

Almanzor Primed For Qipco Champion Stakes Glory

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Almanzor looks the one in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes
– A race first run in 1877 in which, over the next one hundred and forty years, the classic generation have had more than their fair share of success, but since the race was transferred from headquarters to Ascot in 2011 no three year old has managed to get his head in front. Sir Michael Stoute with two winners, Pilsudski 1997, and Kalinisi in 2000, has been the most successful of Saturday’s trainers, but one name, most conspicuous by its absence from the roll of honour, is one, Aidan Patrick O’Brien. However the Ballydoyle maestro, with four entries at the time of writing is attempting to fill in this glaring gap in his amazing CV, and as his 1000gns and Oaks winner, Minding, is more likely to run in the Qipco Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes, his best chance would seem to lie with the “Arc” heroine of 13 days ago, Found. She was probably a little unlucky when finishing second in this to Fascinating Rock last year, but it is significant that she was again beaten, fair and square over 10f, in the Irish Champion Stakes by Almanzor, prior to that superb Arc victory, and it may be that she now needs a full 12f to show her best. Indeed the French race, which was run in a really fast time strongly played to her undoubted stamina. However she is a really tough animal, as she showed last year when, having finished second in this and the Arc, she went on to take the 12f Breeders Cup Turf only two weeks later, and as this is her time of year, her chance is certainly not easily dismissed.

The Dermot Weld trained Fascinating Rock won last year’s renewal by 1 1/4L and 1/2L from Found and Jack Hobbs, and indeed the score between the Weld 5yo and the filly stands at 2-1 in his favour, emphasizing what a top class animal the son of Fastnet Rock is. He is a big gross horse who needs to get his toe in and if he gets his conditions at the weekend he must have serious prospects of adding to his master trainer’s impressive Ascot record.

Having won his only 2yo race, and hacked up by 12L on his reappearance as a 3yo, Jack Hobbs looked like an animal going places, and so it proved, finishing second in the Derby and winning the Irish equivalent by 5L. Following that honorable third in last year’s Champion Stakes he was put away for the season and reappeared in a 12f Newmarket Group 2 in April where he was sent off the 8/15 fav. He was pulled up, and a stress fracture to his pelvis was diagnosed. His hugely talented handler John Gosden, was firmly of the opinion that the son of Halling was immature as a 3yo, and that he would be more the finished article with another year on his back, so obviously that Newmarket setback was a blow. However on the positive side, horses do make full recoveries from this particular injury, and as he is an animal who obviously goes well fresh, the enforced holiday could prove to have been a blessing in disguise.

Sir Michael Stoute attempts to add to his two previous successes with the very lightly raced 3yo son of Galileo, Midterm, and it would come as no surprise at all if this beautifully bred animal figured very prominently on Saturday. He is out of that marvellous mare Midday who won six Group 1s, including an unprecedented three timer in Goodwoods 10f Group1 Nassau stakes, in her fabulous racing career. An impressive winner of both 2yo starts, Midterm confirmed the promise shown, when winning a Sandown Group3 on his reappearance and was sent off a warm order for the Dante Stakes. Unfortunately he sustained an injury during the course of the race, but for which he may well have started favourite for the Derby itself. However he showed that no lasting damage had been caused when finishing a close second in a Chantilly Group2 four months later. This beautifully bred animal’s career has yet to seriously take off but Saturday could well see him in the departure lounge.

J.C. Rouget’s 3yo Colt Almanzor is a hugely progressive animal. He won the French Derby, (10 1/2f) as an unconsidered 20/1 shot at the beginning of June, and followed up with a comfortable win in a Deauville Group2 eleven weeks later. It was last time though, which showed what giant strides he had  taken, when he cruised to success in the highly competitive Irish Champion Stakes 33 days ago. Second last of the 12 runner field  at the two furlong marker, he was switched to the outer, and made rapid headway to get to the leader, Found, and effortlessly went past the filly inside the last 100yds. With strong reservations on breeding, (his sire Wotton Basset never won beyond 7f) he didn’t take up his engagement, in the Prix de L’Arc, quite rightly in my opinion. He should arrive at the start on Saturday a fresh animal, and is going to be hard to beat.

Selection: Almanzor

E.W.       : Midterm

Gigaset International Stakes Betting Tips

Gigaset International Stakes Betting Tips 

Gigaset International Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 7f Ascot Saturday – With Saturday’s feature, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes looking like a shoe in for Roger Varian’s short priced favourite, Postponed, our best chance of tipping a decent priced winner on an excellent Ascot Card is to nail the victor of the £150,000 “International”.

Mark Johnston has a great record in the contest with three winners, all 4yo’s, but with a trio of lowly rated 3yo’s this year he will need plenty above them in the handicap to come out to even have a runner. The man with the next best record in the race with two winners, is fellow Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey, and anything from this yard demands plenty of respect.

His course specialist, and last year’s winner, Heaven’s Guest, won the 2015 renewal off a mark of 103 on soft ground and gets into Saturday’s contest on only 1lb higher. He has also won over course and distance, as a 3yo, again on easy ground, but showed that fast ground wasn’t a problem when going down by 3/4L in a Class2 at headquarters off Saturday’s mark of 104 fourteen days ago.

The Brian Ellison trained Balty Boys was a head behind Heavens Guest in last year’s race and reappears on 6lbs better terms but has failed to impress in three outings this season. However he has been campaigned over further and it wouldn’t surprise to see him play a more prominent role returned to 7f.

Another of the Fahey contingent, Right Touch, demonstrated his wellbeing when winning over 6f at Chester two weeks ago off a mark of 95. Badly drawn, he stayed on well to lead in the last 50yards on the soft ground. He has won over the course, (6f Gd/Sft ) last September, and has a victory over the distance (Ayr 7f good) in the same month. His form is mildly progressive so given ground no faster than good is worth considering off Saturdays mark of 98.

The Stuart Williams trained Suzi’s Connoisseur showed the benefit of his first run for eight months when coming home strongly at Newmarket fifteen days ago to get within 3/4L of Swift Approval (7f Gd/Fm) off a mark of 98 under Oisin Murphy. He acts on any ground, so again partnered by the talented Irishman, and racing off 97 looks one for the shortlist.

The Michael Dodds trained Glen Moss ran a great race in the 6f Wokingham handicap at the Royal Meeting, beaten less than 2L in third off a mark of 100, and confirmed the progress when taking a conditions event at Haydock a fortnight later. Back up to 7f, a distance he has won over four times, and with Ryan Moore down to ride he looks a danger to all, but his new mark of 105 does look challenging.

Considering his relative lack of experience Librisa Breeze was a very well backed 8/1 shot for the Royal Hunt Cup and ran a blinder. He came with a strong looking challenge one furlong out but didn’t last home, and finished second off a mark of 97. While the evidence from his four outings on turf would suggest that this 4yo colt requires easy ground to perform to his optimum, it is worth remembering that All Weather performers (and Librisa Breeze has won three times on an artificial surface) adapt well to Ascot’s straight course.

The James Tate trained 5yo  Braxos needs a few above him in the handicap to come out in order to get a run but the 3lbs penalty he incurred for winning at Doncaster (7f Gd/Fm) on July14th has certainly helped his cause. Racing off a mark of 89 he held on by a nose from Regal Dan and runs on Saturday off 92. He did win over course and distance two years ago off a mark of 95, so the weekend’s Mark may not be insurmountable.

Mick Channon’s 4yo colt Bossy Guest ran well in the Hunt Cup, finishing 6th, less than 3L behind the winner, despite an interrupted passage. He also ran a Corker in last years Group3 Jersey stakes over course and distance, finishing 3rd, 1 1/4L behind the classy Dutch Connection. He disappointed last time at Newmarket fourteen days ago but wouldn’t be the first to bounce back from a poor display in that race at   Headquarters.

Selection: Suzi’s Connoisseur

E.W.    : Right Touch

Diamond Jubilee Stakes Betting Tips

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes 6f Group 1 Royal Ascot Saturday – What a good ride Adam Kirby gave Oddsguru’s selection, Profitable, in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes. Always travelling supremely well within himself, the 4/1 winner was the last to come off the bridle. However Adam had to get down to some serious riding inside the final furlong as the son of Invincible Spirit had to battle hard in the testing conditions. A tearful Kirby was hugely complimentary about the horse afterwards and he could well end the season as champion sprinter. The performance of the 33/1 runner up, Cotai Glory, must have come as a pleasant surprise to trainer Charlie Hills who always thought the horse needed fast conditions, and will surely have boosted his confidence that another of his top sprinters, Magical Memory will get his head in front where it matters in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The 4yo gelding by Zebedee has won won six of his fifteen starts and has shown a most progressive profile. He won his first handicap (May 2015) off a mark of 87 and three months later saw him winning a very competitive Goodwood affair off 102. Thrown in at the deep end the following month, he ran a great race in a Group 1 at Haydock. Starting at 14/1 he belied those odds when finishing third, beaten a short head and three quarters of a length by Twilight Son and stablemate, Strath Burn. Put away for the season he made a winning reappearance in a Group 3 at Headquarters with Dettori in the plate (Gd/Sft) in April, and followed up in a Group 2 at York twenty five days later. He had his Haydock conquerer, Twilight Son, 4 1/2L back in fifth and if we can believe the form, the Hills horse has taken a major step forward over the Winter. Magical Memory can handle most conditions and with Frankie again taking the ride he looks a worthy favourite.

James Fanshawe runs his 4yo gelding, The Tin Man, and is another who has made serious progress from the ranks of handicap sprinters. Rated only 79 last July, he hosed up in a course and distance handicap off a mark of 91 in October and connections were so impressed they supplemented him for the Group1 Champions Sprint fifteen days later. They retrieved their late entry fee when he finished fourth, 3 3/4L behind the impressive winner Mukaarar. Twilight Son was 1 3/4L in front of him in second and The Tin Man does seem to have it all to do to reverse the form. However it’s worth noting that this very lightly raced animal is a half brother, (by Compton Place) to his trainers Wokingham, and Group1 Champions sprint winner (2011) Deacon Blues, and we are very unlikely to have seen the best of him yet. There was certainly plenty to like about his reappearance win at Windsor twenty four days ago when he had Strath Burn three lengths back in fourth.

Last year’s winner, the US trained 6yo gelding, Undrafted, has had a very quiet twelve months since his victory, and has clearly been trained with a repeat on the Royal stage in mind. On only his third outing since Ascot he showed his wellbeing when taking a Grade2 at Keenland (April 9th) but the concern for him must surely be the ground as all his turf victories have been gained when the word firm has been in the going description. Unless there is a dramatic improvement in conditions at the Berkshire venue he is hard to fancy.

Already a Group 1 winner, and in view of his fine second over course and distance in last years Champions Sprint, Henry Candy’s 4yo son of Kyllachy, Twilight Son has to enter calculations. His reappearance run behind Magical Memory in that Group2 at York was perfectly respectable, but the fact remains that he has 4 1/2L to find on the winner, so perhaps the Candy yard has a better chance with their other 4yo, Limato. Always held in very high regard, he was sent off the 3/1 favourite for the 1m Group1 Lockinge Stakes in May but didn’t seem to get home. He did win a slowly run Group2 7f race at Doncaster but it’s worth remembering that five of his six victories have been achieved over 6f, (including a course and distance win), so the drop back in trip may well suit. If the ground improves to good by the weekend he would be worth considering.

The prize money in Hong Kong must be phenomenal because the 7yo ex Irish gelding Gold-Fun has managed to accumulate the eye watering sum of £3,721,460 in prize money, despite never winning at the top level. However he has put in plenty of good performances in Group1s, including last time, (May 6) when finishing fourth. Trained in Ireland until 2012 where he won a maiden over the stiff mile at Naas, he may be well suited by Ascot’s testing uphill straight 6f and a reproduction of his close second, (beaten 1/2l) in a Sha-Tin Group 1 last December would make him interesting.

Selection:    Magical Memory

E.W.    :   Gold-Fun

King’s Stand Stakes Betting Tips

King’s Stand Stakes Betting Tips Gp1 5f Royal Ascot Tuesday Last week’s selection, US Army Ranger gave us a good run for our money, but after a sluggish start, which left him out the back for most of the race, he had it all to do. Left with a mountain to climb three furlongs out, he didn’t get the clearest of runs and had to be switched widest of all. He picked up well and looked a possible winner, getting to within a neck of Harzand, but couldn’t go past. However he is still a pretty inexperienced animal and should have learned a lot. The Irish Derby promises to be an intriguing contest!

Intriguing is also the word to describe next Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal Meeting, with the bookmakers going 7/1 the field at the time of writing. Since it regained it’s Group1 status in 2008, Robert Cowell has led up the winner twice, with Prohibit in 2011, and last year with Goldream. Cowell’s 7yo won at the tasty odds of 20/1 but having added the Prix de L’Abbaye to his C.V. since, such a generous price won’t be available on Tuesday. His win last year was preceded by a lacklustre seventh behind Pearl Secret in the Temple Stakes at Haydock, and his latest run this year, 9th at Meydan in March, wasn’t exactly inspiring. However his talented trainer certainly knows the time of day with his sprinters, and it wouldn’t come as a great surprise to see him become the first to train three winners of the contest.

William Haggas’s 6yo Muthmir, finished in front of Goldream twice in 2014, but has had the worst of the argument in recent exchanges. He was beaten fair and square by the Cowell horse in the Prix de Labbaye, but it was his run behind Goldream in last years renewal of the King’s Stand that offers hope of reversing the form. Taking a fierce hold, he ran the first half of the contest with no cover and with the choke out. As he was only beaten in a blanket finish you would have to be hopeful of him going even closer this year. He has only had his preferred good/firm surface to race on once since, a Group2 at Goodwood, a race he duly won. Given similar conditions on Tuesday he should be involved at the business end.

Clive Cox’s 4yo colt Profitable did Oddsguru a favour when winning the Group2 Temple Stakes at the rewarding odds of 8/1 from Mecca’s Angel and Waady (May 21st Gd/Sft). Twenty one days prior to that he had won the Gp3 Palace House Stakes from Jungle Cat and Waady on similar ground. However as wins at Sandown Gd/Fm, and York Gd show, he doesn’t need to get his toe in and looks a very progressive sprinter who is well suited by a stiff 5f. By that hugely prolific stallion, Invincible Spirit, out of an Indian Ridge mare, a Group1 victory on Tuesday would make him a very attractive addition to the list of sprinting stallions on his retirement, One for the shortlist!

One who does need to hear his hooves rattle is Charlie Hill’s 4yo colt Cotai Glory, and is another who looks progressive. He improved from his first run of the season when finishing second on Gd/Fm behind Take Cover in a listed race at Haydock. A winner of the Group3 Molecombe stakes at Goodwood on fast ground as a 2yo, this Colt by that good sire of sprinters, Exceed and Excell, is going the right way, and given his conditions could cause a surprise.

The 3yo American filly, Acapulco showed blinding speed when winning last years Queen Mary Stakes, and put in another fine performance against older horses when finishing second in the Group1 Nunthorpe Stakes on unsuitably slow ground at York. She has continued her progress this year with two facile victories, albeit at a lower level, at Turfway Park in Febuary and at Churchill Downs in May. Older animals have dominated the last seven runnings of the King’s Stand, but the 3yo Equiano did win the inaugural running of the race as a Group1 contest in 2008, so Acaculpo’s age shouldn’t be a problem. Her talented Trainer Wesley A Ward certainly knows how to win at the Royal Meeting so expect to see this flying filly to the fore.

Karl Burke’s 3yo filly Quiet Reflection was sold as a 2yo for £44,000 and what a bargain she has proved to be. She has won five of her six starts, including two Group3s and a Group2. The one blot on her otherwise perfect CV came at York last August when she finished fifth in a contest where Easton Angel was 2 1/2L ahead of her in third. She showed that form all wrong next time at Ayr, when winning easily, she had Easton Angel nearly seven lengths back in fifth. Her Group2 win came last time out when impressively winning by 3 3/4L over 6f at Haydock two weeks ago. Both runs this year have been over 6f and there must be some doubt about the drop back in trip being ideal, but she is a very exciting filly with tremendous speed whom we haven’t seen the best of yet, and Ascots stiff track should suit.

Selection : Profitable

E.W.    : Quiet reflection.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I I Stakes Betting Tips 1m4f Ascot Saturday

Snow Sky

Michael Stoute’s Snow Sky ran a fine race in the Yorkshire Cup (Gp2 1m6f) beating the tenacious Brown Panther by 1/2L, but then eclipsed that performance when returned to a more suitable trip in the Hardwicke Stakes over 1m4f at Royal Ascot.

If reproducing his impressive performances in the Derby and Eclipse Stakes, Golden Horn now rated 130, would look a good thing for Saturday’s contest, but as ever in life there are certain caveats. Firstly, only two three year olds have collected in the last decade, but they were both in the hugely talented hands of Golden Horn’s trainer John Gosden, the filly Taghrooda last year, and Nathaniel in 2010. Secondly, four of the last five Derby winners who contested the Ascot race have been beaten, and none since Galileo in 2001 has been successful. However it hasn’t been a race targeted by Derby winners in recent years, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Kris Kin in 2003 the last to try, (he finished 3rd to another 3yo, Alamshar).

Recent statistics certainly give plenty of encouragement to the older generations, and the one with the best C.V. For the task would seem to be the Andre Fabre trained 5yo horse, Flintshire. He ran a great race in last years “Arc” when second to the superb mare Treve, and again ran well when finishing 1 1/4L behind her at Saint-Cloud four weeks ago. Flintshire has won twice at the top level, both times over 1m4f, and his excellent trainer has won the race before (Hurricane Run 2006), so if the favourite doesn’t bring his A game on Saturday the trophy could be going across the channel.

The Italian trained Dylan Mouth also boasts winning form at the top level, having won two Group ones, both at 1m4f, at St Siro. It is tempting to dismiss Italian form as not being up to the standard of British, Irish, French, and more recently German. However this 4yo Dylan Thomas colt was most impressive in a group one last time, winning by 5L, so it is not impossible that he might emulate his sire who won this great race eight years ago. Definitely worthy of his place in Saturday’s line up.

Sir Michael Stoute has trained five previous winners, most recently with Harbinger in 2010, and a success at the weekend would give him the all time record, so his two runners deserve the utmost respect. While it is dangerous to totally dismiss the 5yo Telescope, whose form this year has been disappointing, his best chance seems to lie with the progressive looking 4yo Snow Sky.

He ran a fine race in the Yorkshire Cup (Gp2 1m6f) beating the tenacious Brown Panther by 1/2L, but then eclipsed that performance when returned to a more suitable trip in the Hardwicke Stakes over 1m4f at Royal Ascot. Making all he beat Eagle Top and Postponed by 3 3/4L and a nose in a controversial race. Some may consider him a fortuitous winner but this observer wouldn’t agree. Considering Sir Michael’s supreme talent with the mature thoroughbred, further progress can be anticipated and it will be no surprise to see him involved on Saturday.

Another, who one feels has his best days in front of him, is the Luca Cumani trained Postponed. He has never won at the top level, but went very close at the Curragh in May. Racing over an inadequate 1m2f, he was only beaten a nk and a shd by Al Kazeem and Fascinating Rock. He was then involved in that barging match with Eagle Top in the Hardwicke Stakes where his pilot, Adam Kirby did him absolutely no favours. By the all conquering Stallion Dubawi, a much improved performance is in prospect.

Selection: Snow Sky

E.W. : Postponed

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I I Stakes Betting Tips 1m4f Ascot Saturday.

Victoria Cup Racing Tips 7f Ascot Saturday

Jamie Spencer Speculative Bid

Jamie Spencer, who is riding so well at the moment, is doing the steering on Speculative Bid and could go close.

Our suggestion for the 2000gns, Gleneagles, did us proud last week winning at the rewarding odds of 4/1, but I have to admit that Saturday’s wide open Victoria Cup, presents a much thornier problem to solve. As only two horses above the age of five have managed to win in the past decade, sticking to four or five year olds, is probably advisable.

Winning, or at least going close at the specialist distance of 7f has been essential, as has good recent form. Top weights have a particularly poor record, which enables us to leave Hughie Morrison’s Chill The Kite out of the picture.

One that catches the eye, with the evergreen Kieran Fallon in the plate, is the Michael Attwater trained 5yo entire, Professor. A course and distance winner in May 2013, He also ran a blinder at the course last June when finishing second off a mark of 108 in a Cl2 handicap over 6f. Racing on Saturday off 102 He doesn’t look badly treated, and is one for the short list.

Another course and distance winner, is the Jeremy Noseda trained Outback Traveller. He hosed up over course and distance in a 3yo handicap last October off a mark of 93, and showed what progress had been made over the winter, when just collared in the final stride by Speculative Bid, on his reappearance on the Kempton A.W over seven furlongs off a mark of 105. Just 2lbs higher, and 1lb better off with Speculative Bid at the weekend, this very progressive animal is another to consider.

Speculative Bid is himself clearly progressive and comes strongly into the argument on the Kempton form. He has now won his last two races, both over 7f, strongly suggesting that this is ideal distance, so with Jamie Spencer, who is riding so well at the moment, doing the steering, He is another to consider.

The Ed Dunlop trained 4yo Zarwaan gives the impression that Saturday’s trip might well suit. He was quietly fancied for the Lincoln, and ran a fine race to finish sixth, but didn’t seem to quite get home. He also ran well over the track in a 1ml 30 runner handicap, finishing a highly creditable fifth, only 2L behind the winner, off a mark of 101. His runs in the Lincoln, and at Ascot demonstrate his ability to cope with the demands of a large field handicap so off a mark of 102 his chance has to be respected.

Another course and distance winner is the Richard Fahey trained 5yo Heavens Guest, who showed his wellbeing when cozily taking a Thirsk conditions event three weeks ago. His course and distance win was back in 2013, but he put up another fine performance last October when finishing third, off Saturday’s mark off 105 over course and distance. With the very useful 5lb claimer Jack Garrity riding on Saturday, He is one to keep an eye on.

David O’Meara’s 5yo So Beloved ran a fine race on his reappearance in a Thirsk handicap three weeks ago, when going down by 1/2L to One Word More. As he meets the winner on a pound better terms there should be very little between them at the weekend, but it is interesting that So Beloved is stable jockey Tudhope’s selection from the yards three entries.

Peter Chapple-Hyam’s 5yo Buckstay, was backed in to favourite in a 1ml Newbury handicap last time out, but got no sort of run, and as a result gets to race off the same mark of 94 here. His previous 2nd at Doncaster was a run full of promise, and did suggest that He would not be inconvenienced by a drop back to 7f.

Selection: Speculative Bid.

E.W: Zarwaan.