15:05 - Royal Ascot Preview & Tips
Won last season by the expensive purchase Sir Isaac Newton, the Wolferton Handicap is run over the 1m 1f 212y distance and needs a horse with a mix of speed and stamina. Our Wolferton Handicap tips and betting preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Khairaat ran rampant when winning a Chester handicap on his latest start and should be on the premises but PACIFY posted his best effort yet when second at York in a competitive handicap over this distance and now should be fully fit after a run at Newbury over an inadequate distance. He’s only a pound higher than that York run and with conditions to suit, he should be tough to beat under Pat Smullen for Ralph Beckett.
1 SCARLET DRAGON – Improved to no end last season for Eve Johnson Houghton, starting the season off in Class 4 events before ending it by winning the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket in October. he was last seen in December at Doha in Group 1 company, finishing fourteenth after never looking himself throughout the race. He’s likely to be happier back on British soil and he’s only up six pounds for his Old Rowley Cup win. More than possible that there is more to come this season and has to be respected under Tom Marquand.
2 AYRAD – On a competitive mark at present if judged upon his good performances at pattern level in the spring last season, though he ended the season poorly and will need to overcome a 238 day break in this. A mark of 109 as previously stated does seem him well handicapped and if returning at his best he would have a huge chance of taking victory under Ryan Moore, so isn’t one to underestimate. Place claims at the very least.
3 ELBERETH – Improving mare who produced a career best on her latest start to finish fourth in the Coronation Cup at Epsom earlier this month, keeping on well but never able to get to the leading three. That was a good effort and she is of interest back handicapping off a mark of 107, though a drop back in trip may not suit given how well she finished off her race at Epsom and this wider draw will not help her. She is clearly talented however and couldn’t be dismissed for the placings.
4 CENTRAL SQUARE – Returned from six months off with a good third in the Spring Lodge at Newmarket in May, keeping on strongly and saving his best work for the finish. On that basis this step up in trip should help to eek out further improvement and the fitting of the blinkers should help for the same reason. He’s up three pounds from his latest run but he remains likely raced and should be considered.
5 MUNTAZAH – Has been below par on two on his last three runs, perhaps not staying the trip when only seventh in the Buckhounds Stakes here over the 1m 3f trip in May. A mark of 105 should see him in good stead now in handicaps but he wouldn’t want a strongly run race which he’s likely to get in this and he does have a tendency to be headstrong in his races. David Probert takes the ride for Owen Burrows and he’s further down the list than most.
6 KHAIRAAT – A lightly raced four year old, he produced a clear career best on his handicap debut when last seen at Chester making all and only needing a hands and heels ride to scorch clear of his rivals. There is likely to be much more under the hood of this son of Shamardal and an improved display is likely to be on the cards, with conditions in his favour. Hamdan Al Maktoum won the race back in 2015 so he knows what it takes and connections likely have a potential Group horse in time, so him being favourite is no real surprise.
7 KIDMENEVER – Produced some good efforts while out in Meydan for Charlie Appleby the last twice, producing a career best to finish a close second in a competitive event back in February. He is only two pounds higher now and he remains with potential for connections that are flying at present, with this good to firm ground likely to see him in his element. William Buick takes the ride and his claims are obvious.
8 MAVERICK WAVE – Finished 12th of 15 in this race last season for John Gosden and he was well beaten on his latest start back in November at Lingfield on the all weather, finishing a tailed off last in the Listed Churchill Stakes. Hard to recommend on that basis and he’s very inconsistent in the main, so is likely best watched.
9 SNOANO – Useful at his best in handicaps, winning three starts ago at Pontefract but he was found out off his new mark when last seen at Ripon in May, finishing a poor seventh. He remains on the same mark and this good to firm ground is another concern, so he’s likely best watched today for Tim Easterby.
10 ALLEZ HENRI – French raider who ran a good enough race when third at Lingfield on the all weather back in April, but failed to back that up when last seen to finish a disappointing ninth at Saint-Cloud in May. Hard to see him playing a leading role in this and likely best watched.
11 RESTORER – Runs for the very much in form William Muir yard and this five year old has been far from disgraced in a pair of 1m 4f Listed races the last twice, not beaten far at Goodwood on his latest start in the Tapster Stakes. A mark of 102 does demand more though in a very tough race and with a record of two wins from fourteen, he’s likely to find at least one too good in this under Martin Dwyer.
12 MYTHICAL MADNESS – In form runner for David O’Meara who won on his latest start at Haydock in Class 3 company, keeping on strongly and always in command once he struck the front. He’s up five pounds as a result and in a much harder race though, so he will need to show marked improvement to be featuring under rider Danny Tudhope. If remaining in good form he’d certainly have each way claims, but he’s likely vulnerable for win purposes in this sort of company.
13 DRAGON MALL – Has only raced once at the 1m 2f distance, with that coming on his penultimate start at Meydan where he could only manage seventh (Kidmenever was in second) and whether he stayed was certainly up for debate. He ran well off a one pound higher mark when third at Nottingham on his latest start when keeping on well over the extended mile but more is needed in a tougher race. Josie Gordon takes the ride and he has live each way claims if staying the trip, though he’d be a surprise winner.
14 TUMBAGA – Well beaten in two races at Meydan returning from over a year off the track for Saeed bin Suroor, never dangerous when last seen in a handicap at the Dubai venue 133 days ago. Lots to prove on that basis and he remains on the same mark, so can’t be recommended.
15 MAJEED – Running well enough over the winter in Meydan but there was little to like about his British return at Newmarket fourteen days go, finishing a well beaten twelfth and he has a huge amount to prove on that basis. That was a much weaker race than this and he remains on the same mark, so he likely is vulnerable once again.
16 PACIFY – Finished down the field in this race last season off a two pound higher mark but he has to be of strong interest based upon his efforts leading up to the 2016 race. Finishing second in a string of competitive 1m 2f handicaps at Doncaster, Epsom and York. He is only a pound higher than when nearly claiming victory in a competitive heat at York last season, returning this season at Newbury over an inadequate distance. Pat Smullen takes the ride and he looks sure to run a big race.