Sovereign Debt has been off for more than a year now and question is how much of his old class he still has. Makes AW debut for new yard. Should be fine on surface but big mark to overcome dropping into handicap.
Don’t Call Me hasn’t won for quite a while but finished well in 3rd in hot race last week, only neck beaten by 105 rated individual on first outing since October. Still career best required to win off current mark. However remains as good as ever and won strong Handicap last summer off 3lb lower.
Tiger Tale finished runner-up on couple of occasions in recent weeks. Mark is increasing without winning since good win at Kempton in autumn. Fine performance lto over CD when short of room in crucial moment. Career best required.
Secret Art is back after a break. Goes well on the All-Weather and ran well the last two starts in Autumn. Career best required today.
Melvin The Grate is much improved since switched to the All-Weather. Won with plenty in hand on penultimate start over CD and ran fine 3rd of revised mark lto when not having run of race. Needs good pace to be able to close from trailing position.
Energia Flavio hasn’t won in UK yet but has been competitive last three start on AW. Looks in the grip of the handicapper though. Claimers allowance sure to help however.
Freud is a French import and hasn’t been seen since August. Seems to act on AW but hard to know what to expect today.
Santefisio doesn’t win often but returned to form at Wolverhampton lto. May need more assistance from handicapper to be winning candidate in this class.
Spiritual Star won with plenty in hand over CD last month when dropped to a mile. Five pounds up looks fair and remains competitive, though more required up in class today.
Mindyourownbusiness finished a gutsy runner-up behind Spiritual Star a fortnight ago. Not too many miles on the clock and may improve again. But need to so as was fair beaten lto off similar mark.
Halation was progressive last season on turf. Placed on AW as well. Now back after break. Fitness a question mark but top jockey in the saddle a bonus.
Stormy Paradise was a fair lengths beaten on seasonal return over CD lto. Would need improve quite a bit for that run to be competitive here.
Verdict: This is a really competitive affair, as one would expect from a big feature Handicap on a Saturday. More than half of the field have the potential to be really competitive in this. There is no doubt that Melvin The Great is a fair favourite. He won with plenty in hand his penultimate start and followed up with another nice performance over course and distance. His running style means that he’ll always need a rattling pace and bit of luck as well. Not sure if he’ll get another clear run today. As he had it all going for him the last two. i would expect Tiger Tale, who finished runner-up behind Melvin The Grate before, and beat him by half a lengths lto then when he was second again. He hit the crossbar a couple of times now and it remains to be seen if he can win off his current mark. Another bold performance wouldn’t surprise though. Halation is a bit a dark horse today. Back after a break, progressive profile as a three year old. He could have still some unlocked potential and has Atzeni in the saddle.
Secret Art has a similar profile to a certain extend. He was competitive before a break and if he is match fit, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going close today. All those mentioned until now should go well, but I feel they aren’t offering any value if it comes to odds. However the 12/1 for Don’t Call me looks huge. He remains most of his old class and done extremely well in a very good handicap at Wolverhampton last week. He hasn’t won off a mark as high as his current one, but this most recent performance indicates that he is well up to it. He didn’t get quite a clear run in the closing stages lto, but the slight drop to a mile should suit much better today anyway.
Not to underestimate is the chance of recent winner Spiritual Star either. An impressive winner over course and distance two weeks ago, his revised mark looks more than fair, if not even lenient to a certain extend, given with how much in hand he won and how similar winners have been hit with much higher increases. He hasn’t won off a mark as high as this, however was placed over CD off even higher last season. He has the habit of starting slowly from time to time. So that is a risk that he may lose the race already at the start. Yet 9/1 looks a very big price.
Don’t Call Me @ 12/1 Sportingbet- 5pts win
Spiritual Star @ 9/1 William Hill – 5pts win