2.20 Sandown: Class 2 Handicap, 1m
Whether some of the more lightly raced individuals can improve to a level that’ll see them going close is debatable, but the very much in-form Jacob Black is sure to have a prime chance once again.
The four year old is getting better with every race, and after getting close in a hot Newmarket Handicap on his seasonal debut, he made all to win here at Sandown a fortnight ago. The winning margin was tight in the end but Jacob Black got a bit lonely in front inside the final furlong and was actually eased down towards the end. He had still a bit in hand.
The Handicapper has given him a chance to prove his class and raised his mark by only 3lb. He may not be able to dictate this bigger field as he did the last time, but he has a good draw and should be in an ideal position when it matters.
Jacob Black @ 6/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win
2.45 Navan: Handicap (60-95), 6f
Quick ground is a rarity in Ireland so there isn’t too much fast ground form on offer in this field. However Lily’s Prince is sure to appreciate the underfoot conditions. She has been it pretty good form in recent weeks. A fine success at Cork, followed up with a sixth place in a hot Tipperary sprint.
On paper this last performance doesn’t look inspiring, but the drop to 5f wasn’t suitable and she lost something at the start. She appeared dangerous briefly from 2f out but was found out for speed eventually. This slightly longer trip is what she needs, and with conditions to suit, she may have still a bit to offer from her current mark in an open enough affair.
Lily’s Prince @ 10/1 Betfred – 5pts Win
3.10 York: Ganton Stakes (Listed)
The race evolves around the question whether Wannabe Yours is 100% today and if he’s improved from three to four. Last years form is outstanding and gives him a leading chance no doubt. 3/1 looks tempting I admit, but with these question marks flying around I do opt for the form horse at twice the price.
That’s Lincoln winner Gabrial. Conditions come just right for him today with a bit of rain getting into the ground and his recent 4th in Listed Handicap over course and distance gives him a big chance. That day as top weight he had a really tough task assigned and was just beaten in the closing stages by progressive horses with less weight.
The form works out really well, though and Gabrial should find this here actually a bit easier, given he’s on level weights with his rivals. He is holding his form well and is likely to run his race today – which may be good enough to win.
Gabrial @ 7/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win
5.25 Chester: Class 3 Handicap, 5f
I agree with the betting here: Bowson Fred is a very worthy favourite and has plenty in favour. Good draw, form and conditions. But the fact that he has gone close in all his recent starts without winning suggest he is vulnerable nonetheless.
In contrast if you can forgive Snow Cloud his recent poor showing, you’ll see a progressive, talented and improved filly. Ripon’s 6f in softish conditions were just not what she wanted but she showed true class on her seasonal debut at Redcar in quick conditions over 5f.
Travelling strongly, and producing a nice turn of foot, she looked to have loads in hand. Judged on that performance she might be still better than her current mark off 81, although this is a tougher race and Chester from draw five is something of an unknown experience to her. If she handles it, she is sure to be a big runner.
Snow Cloud @ 7/1 Coral – 5pts Win