4.50 Southwell: Class 3 Handicap, 1m
A class 3 Handicap in the name only – without the fresh French recruit of Rae Guest, this would be a borderline 0-75 contest.
Ranes is an unknown quantity but could be potentially well handicapped, especially in this field against her own sex. Her French handicap mark has been translated 1:1 to a BHA mark, and this one could underestimate her, given her most recent success on the Deauville polytrack looks strong where she beat higher rated rivals.
However, she has to carry a lot more weight in real terms here: from 8-0st to 9-12. People have their different views on weight, but in my view this is a significant increase and a major question mark.
In any case there is a filly in this race I am fairly sure is a better than her current mark, if she finally gets her act together. That is Wadacre Grace, who significantly caught the eye the last two times.
The 3-year-old filly showed a strong level of form in four of her five runs since successfully returning from a 5 months long break in September.
She kicked it all off with victory on handicap debut at Newcastle over 7 furlongs, despite showing some inexperience, she finished incredibly strongly to get up on the line. It’s been her trademark ever since to find plenty under pressure in the closing stages (with the exception of a subsequent poor run, which she has left behind the next three runs, though).
I love that attitude, less so the way she can start her races. She can be sluggish out of the gate, and quite keen in the early stages of the race. I reckon that cost her victory at Chelmsford, when less pronounced but clearly played a part why she ‘only managed’ third place.
She completely missed the break the next time at Kempton. She benefited from a slow early pace to quickly get back to the field but nonetheless had to spend significantly more energy than everyone else and found herself in the worst position possible, too. She finished like a train, eventually.
She had a better – if not ideal – start last time out. She went forward to join the leader pushing a good pace, before dropping into second. Once again, when headed, she found plenty under pressure, especially staying on strongly in the final furlong for 2nd place. That was especially impressive after pushing the pace to finish so well.
She has only ran to a 64 speed rating to date, although that came in her Newcastle victory in September. I’ve got no doubts that she has more to offer. Clearly there is more talent under the hood than a lowly 69 rating would suggest. Not to forget this is only her sixth career handicap start as well. There’s more to come.
I don’t mind the wide draw tomorrow. It’s not a big deal over a mile at Southwell. If she starts slowly then it doesn’t matter from where, anyway. It doesn’t look like there is going to be mad competition for the lead. I hope that helps her to get to a prominent position without too much fuss, and provides Franny Norton with the options to stride forward, if needed.
This filly wants to gallop. So let her get on with things. She stays every inch of the trip (no surprise, the dam was a 12 furlong winner at Southwell), so let her do her thing and she will run away with it.
10pts win – Wadacre Grace @ 9/2