IN SUMMARY: This can go to SURPRISE VENDOR who ran far better than the bare figures suggest at Newcastle last month. He’s now three pounds below his last winning mark, dropping in grade for the first time since winning at Ayr in January. Conditions are fine and he’s touted to land the spoils ahead of Petapenko, who remains unexposed despite a flop on his return.
Suprise Vendor | J: Henry Brooke T: Stuart Coltherd
Ran a solid race to finish third on his latest start, shaping better than the bare figures suggest. He's now three pounds below his last winning mark and today's good to soft conditions are fine. He drops in grade from his last two runs and should be tough to beat.
Sleep In First | J: Steven Fox T: James Ewart
Ran extremely well on his return from a long absence two starts ago, but he failed to back that up over course and distance last time. New headgear goes on now and he's surely capable of better, with today's conditions fine. One to consider for placings.
Titus Bolt | J: Callum Bewley T: Jim Goldie
Nine year old who proved he retains some ability over course and distance three starts ago, but two runs since have shown otherwise. He was never lived over course and distance last time and he's only three pounds lower here. May just prove vulnerable.
Petapenko | J: Brian Hughes T: Pauline Robson
Was returning from a long absence when a huge disappointment on chasing/stable/handicap debut last time. He now returns to hurdling off four pounds lower and he does remain unexposed. He was well backed for his return which makes him very interesting and he's considered.
Lady Clitico | J: Tony Kelly T: Rebecca Menzies
Has been solidly out of form over timber and on the flat this winter, shaping with little promise over course and distance last month. She continues to drop down the weights, but she is impossible to recommend at present.
Devils Water | J: Sam Coltherd T: Jane Walton
Has pulled up on his last three starts, with the saddle slipping on his return at Catterick two weeks ago. He's well treated on one of his maiden runs, but previous handicap runs last season paint a very bleak picture. Couldn't be ruled out entirely at his best, but he's clearly very risky.
Grecian King | J: Patrick Cowley T: Laura Morgan
Tailed off after a sloppy round of jumping at Catterick last time, not appreciating the heavy ground. Nevertheless, previous runs didn't give much hope for him in handicaps and he's yet to show anything over timber. Best watched once more.
Our Lucas | J: Dale Irving T: R. Mike Smith
Seven race maiden over timber who was returning from a year's absence when second at Ayr in December. He didn't shape badly on that occasion and he;s entitled to build on it, now dropped in grade. He's also a pound lower on better ground, so couldn't be discounted for a place.
The Compeller | J: Derek Fox T: Lucinda Russell
Placed twice earlier in his career over timber but things sharply when backwards, pulled up on his return from a long absence in December. He may have needed the run but previous handicap runs were very similar in how disappointing they were. A return to better ground should suit, but he's far too risky.
Toarmandowithlove | J: James Corbett T: Susan Corbett
Given a very soft lead at Catterick on her latest start, which enabled her to make all to win her first race after thirty-six attempts. She's now six pounds higher in a tougher race though and she won't get it easy on the lead this time around. Would be a surprise were she to double up.
Rockliffe | J: Finian O'Toole T: Micky Hammond
Has really struggled over timber the last thrice, never in the hunt when finding little for pressure late on. A return to better ground is a plus, but his stamina for this trip remains a big question mark. His mark continues to slip, but making a viable case for him is not possible.
Pc Dixon | J: Mr Alex Chadwick T: Victor Thompson
Sent off 100/1 at Newcastle in a novice race nine days ago, running a career best to finish second. What he beat that day is a big question mark though and despite effectively being seven pounds ahead of the handicapper, you'd have to say that rise is harsh anyway. Best watched back in handicaps.
Marbeth | J: Lorcan Murtagh T: Hugh Burns
Has been pulled up and tailed off over timber the last twice, losing ground very quickly at Cartmel when last seen in August. She's now five pounds lower but no previous form suggests she's good enough at this level.