IN SUMMARY: This can go to the grade dropper TOP GAMBLE, who is a multiple time Grade 2 winner over fences. He has faced two very tough tasks this season, including chasing home Un De Sceaux at Cork two weeks ago. He loves a slog in the mud and returns to handicaps off an attractive mark if judged on his best form. He should have too much class for these and can see off the prolific Play The Ace, who needs another career best to defy the handicapper.
1 TOP GAMBLE – Triple Grade 2 scorer over fences, facing two tough tasks this season. He did as well as expected when behind Un De Sceaux latest and now returns to handicaps off an attractive mark. Conditions are to suit and he should too much class for these back down in grade.
2 QUITE BY CHANCE – Rock solid form when placed in two Ascot handicaps this season. He has run well here in the past but with four of his top five career RPR’s coming at the Berkshire track, that may just be his venue. His current mark is harsh even on the best of his form and he needs a career best against some smart rivals.
3 PLAY THE ACE – Rattled off four wins on the bounce, he has improved leaps and bounds this season. Adaptable with regards to conditions, this trip on soft ground suits him well. Is going to need another step forward to defy his new mark but would be folly to dismiss.
4 TEMPLEHILLS – Four wins and four incompletions from his last nine starts, he is the very epitome of a Jekyll and Hyde character. No issues with soft ground but on his first start of the season he is hard to trust implicitly in such a competitive race.
5 DUSKY LARK – Steadily progressive last season, he ran no sort of race on his return. Three miles stretches his stamina so that run is easy enough to excuse but all of his form has come on right handed tracks so makes limited appeal here.
6 O MANOLAI – Nibbled at in the market ahead of his seasonal return at Newbury, a track he has done well at in the past. He never travelled with any real purpose before pulling up, leaving him with plenty to prove on this occasion. Off this mark, he holds each way claims, but he is certainly a risky proposition.
7 PRESSURIZE – Beat Quite By Chance over this course and distance back in March 2016, seen just twice since. Both those runs were miles below his best so despite only being a pound above that win, he can’t be supported here.