Another tremendously competitive race and even more so over this sprint trip where horses taking each other on on a regular basis, and often enough it only depends on form on the particular day who is going to win. I find it hard to distinguish the more fancied horses here though, and while trying to find out if there is one of the long-shots overpriced, I stumbled across the 20/1 for History Book. I believe if he’d be wearing still the well known blue Godolphin colours today, he might be a shorter price. But he left Charlie Appleby recently and has his first start for a new yard, interestingly with cheek-pieces fitted for the first time too.
History Book is still a rather lightly raced individual, in fact completely unexposed over sprint trips. Bred for something different, he didn’t really take off in his early days, but gradually dropped down in trip until appearing over 6f here at Lingfield last month in a pretty decent class 3 Handicap. He travelled very well and got up on the line with a late push in a thrilling finish. The form of that race worked out well in so far as that the runner-up prevailed subsequently in a very hot race while stepping up in grade.
Going right into Listed class today, this is obviously the toughest test History Book ever faced and it may turn out that he is not good enough. But he must have potential to improve further over this new trip, which seem to suit him well. He is drawn quite well too and may make use of that with more aggressive tactics today, using the bit of stamina he should have to offer. Considering all, he looks a huge price and deserves a chance here.
Grandeur is a class act, has done well in hot Graded races over in the US last summer and won this very same race last year off a break. No reason why he shouldn’t go well once more today.
Grendisa won back in December a Listed race over course and distance, is a proven All-Weather warrior over variety of trips while giving weight away today however.
Afonso De Sousa makes his first start for a new yard after break. Won as fresh horse before and usually performed well on Dundalk All-Weather in the past.
Ansaab has done really well at Lingfield over CD last two starts, when beaten by a neck and won by a neck in class 3 Handicaps. More required here but deserves his chance.
Cloudscape hasn’t been seen since 1.5l fourth in Group 3 over 12f at Goodwood. Drop in trip should suit if fit on reappearance. Won fresh last year and on debut on Kempton AW.
Maverick Wave has a 100% record over course and distance, won last month good class 2 Handicap. Fom pick in this field with more improvement likely.
What About Carlo is back off a break, won as fresh horse in the past and over 10f. All-Weather debut. Hard to know what to expect today.
Lamar proved himself an AW specialist. Won the last two in conditions races. Has to prove stamina today though.
Verdict: This is an ultra competitive contest and I’m surprised to see such a huge difference in prices. Yes, Grandeur is a fair favourite for obvious reasons. He’s here to defend his crown and no doubt will be the one to beat. But there are a couple of progressive rivals in the line-up that can be dangerous to underestimate. So I’m happily oppose him today.
I believe John Gosden has a very strong hand in this race. Cloudscape is a very interesting contender for obvious reasons. Still rather lightly raced, he shaped with loads of promise last season and has some excellent form to his name. If he is fit and well and has wintered well, he is a big runner. His price doesn’t really offer value in my mind though. Which looks different for Gosden’s second horse, Maverick Wave. An all the time improving colt, he is unbeaten at Lingfield over 10f and may have a tactical advantage if let loose in front. He deserves a shot on this and the weight he receives from the more fancied rivals, he is in with a big chance as on the ratings he hasn’t to find all that much.
Grendisar is a strong travelling horse, who will need a strong pace and all the luck in the world here. he is a classy individual but I feel the race may not be run to suit him. Afonso De Sousa also wouldn’t like it to be a crawl with all his wins on the All-Weather came over 11f. He is an interesting runner nonetheless on his debut for David O’Meara. Improving handicapper Ansaab deserves a shot at this too, but potentially he is not good enough.
I’m intrigued by bottom weight Lamar. He is really progressive on the All-Weather, won two conditions races over shorter last month and finished a strong fourth over 7f in a very competitive listed race at Deauville. I believe he has more to give and looks extremely overpriced. Question mark is the trip. However it’s only his second try over 10f and he didn’t seem to stop over 9.5f at Wolverhampton, also on pedigree there is a fair chance that he can get thus far. He may be tracking the leader, and if this won’t won’t be run at a mad pace, it could play very much in his hands.
It’s Weekend! Some great racing ahead. Several Graded races in the UK and Ireland. Ascot Chase on Saturday as the highlight of course, but there is also some great action at Gowran Park and Navan, plus some excellent All-Weather racing from Lingfield. Enjoy all the fantastic racing and good luck whatever you bet!
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.
Selections: Don’t Call Me @ 12/1 Sportingbet- 5pts win Spiritual Star @ 9/1 William Hill – 5pts win