Masamah has been off since August, though done well fresh in the past. Age doesn’t seem to slow him down, he ran with credit in big handicaps last season. Acted on Tapeta at Meydan.
Zac Brown is much improved on the AW this winter. Won with loads in hand at Chelmsford, couldn’t quite follow up at Southwell. 10lb higher now but remains open to further improvement.
Boom The Groom was extremely consistent this winter, and not disgraced last two either since success at Lingfield. 2lb above last winning mark. Probably slightly better over 6f.
Steelriver ran well lately over further. Fair third over 6f last month. May find this minimum distance too short.
Basil Berry went agonizingly close at Chelmsford last month. Up in the mark and career highest required, Can follow-on, but drop in trip a slight worry.
Royal Bajan posted career best when winning at Chelmsford earlier this month. Gutsy 5f specialist on the AW. New career best required again.
Mappin Time didn’t travel well at Chelmsford lto, yet finished race well coming off half year long break. Has never won handicap off mark as high as the current one.
Megaleka ran out a fine 2nd behind Royal Bajan lto, needs to improve again to win off career highest mark.
Long Awaited was third behind Royal Bajan lto on first AW start. Hasn’t won since 2012 and still 1lb higher than last winning mark.
Invincible Ridge is a fair All-Weather performer, ran consistently well in recent weeks, but is 8lb above last winning mark which came in class 5 handicap.
Dynamo Walt improved this winter and won a couple of races. Consistent but loads to find on form with most rivals in this field.
Verdict: As open a race as it gets. Zac Brown may be a fair favourite and has potential to improve further, but now ten pounds above his last winning mark, he to do progress quite allot to overcome a career highest mark in this quality field. He looks short enough in the betting for that reason. You can make a case for most other runners.
Rojal Bajan’s recent success is very strong form and there is no reason why he shouldn’t go well yet again. The second and third of that race, Megaleka and Long Awaited meet the rival on slightly better weight terms today and should go close as well. Boom The Groom has been very consistent this winter, and if the trip isn’t too sharp for him, then he’ll right there when it matters too.
The class act in this field is Masamah. A former Group 2 winner, he has ran well despite his age in big handicaps last season. He may not be quite as good as he once was, but with a slightly slipping mark and a very good 5lb apprentice in the saddle, he must have a very good chance to run a big race today – if he is fit.
That is the main question mark. He has done very well as a fresh horse in the past, though the older horses get, the longer it takes to get them fit. I take a gamble on him, however, that Marco Botti knows how to keep this veteran healthy and fit and I suspect he is not in the race to just make the numbers. He looks a big price and shouldn’t have an issue with the Tapeta surface, since he acted on the All-Weather before and finished in the money at Meydan’s Tapeta track.
Masamah @ 8/1 VC – 5pts win