A field of ten go to post for the first race of the day at Fontwell on Thursday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Sky Of Stars arrives here on the hat-trick and is two pounds ahead of the handicapper so looks set to run a big race under ten pound claimer Fergus Gregory. That said, Gary Moore’s string are in amazing form and he can gain another victory with seven year old mare HERMOSA VAQUERA. She was second over course and distance in a tougher race than this back in December and she remains on the same mark, returning this year with a comfortable win on the flat at Lingfield. She is clearly on a roll and has the services of Jamie Moore, so she looks very tough to beat on this occasion dropped in class.
1 SKY OF STARS – Four year old for the up-and-coming Olly Murphy yard who has won his last two races for the trainer, completing a double when gamely taking victory at Market Rasen eleven days ago. Despite losing his place and making mistakes he won comfortably in the end and although he’s been slapped with a nine pound rise, he has ten pound claimer Fergus Gregory on board to negate that. He has to be considered a big contender on that basis and should be the chief danger to our selection.
2 RALEAGH MOUNTAIN – Modest pointer in Ireland who was due to make his chase/stable debut last night for Dan Skelton but has instead taken this assignment. On what he’s shown in points he makes very little appeal here and despite how well the Skelton’s tend to do with new recruits, he’s best watched here under Harry Skelton as we know very little.
3 HERMOSA VAQUERA – Finished second over course and distance back in December off this mark and she returned this year with a successful run on the flat at Lingfield. She won that race easily and she arrives here on a roll for Gary Moore, with Jamie taking the ride. Conditions will suit and she remains well treated off this mark, so she looks set to take all the beating for a yard in brilliant form.
4 MAGICAL THOMAS – Still a maiden after ten hurdling runs for Neil Mulholland and there seems to be a theme occurring that he finds very little for pressure. He looked poised to challenge when upsides at the last at Worcester on his penultimate run, but he made a mistake and quite simply capitulated afterwards, finishing third and beaten seventeen lengths. He was again well beaten at the same venue last time out when finding nothing off the bridle and jumping poorly. A step back in trip could suit, but others ultimately make more appeal.
5 RIF RAFTOU – Has placed on both her starts for Samuel Drinkwater over the 2m 4f trip, last seen at Worcester where she hung his change away after going into second place. A drop back in trip does make her interesting but you’d have to wonder whether she has the speed for it. Robbie Dunne takes the ride and she has each way claims, but others make more appeal for win purposes.
6 OSGOOD – Course and distance winner who is very inconsistent, putting in a very poor effort at Plumpton in May before springing out of nowhere to win at Huntingdon despite idling in the closing stages. He did well to win that contest after a sloppy round of jumping and although he’s up four pounds, he still remains well treated on the best of his form. That said, he isn’t a likely type to follow up and others are far less risky.
7 ROB ROBIN – Seven year old for Chris Gordon who showed average form in two of his three novice/maiden runs, well beaten on both his completed starts after travelling well. He makes his handicap debut today off a mark of 89 which isn’t necessarily harsh, but more he does need improvement against some in form rivals. Marc Goldstein takes the ride and unless the money is down, he’s likely best watched here.
8 THE KVILLEKEN – Quirky sort for Martin Keighley who has been out of sorts this season, well beaten on all of his starts in 2017. He tried to make all on his latest start at Stratford but faded tamely at three out, finished all but tailed off in fifth. He is now on a mark of 78 which means he’s on a career low and very well treated on the best of his form, but he’s clearly not himself at the moment. Conor Shoemark takes the ride but he’s likely best watched.
9 JAMESGIFTKEYSANDAL – Showed very little in novice and maiden events for Robert Stephens and his three handicap runs have been very poor, well beaten on all three occasions. He now drops back markedly in trip and although that should suit, he’s hard to make a case for and is best watched.
10 PETRIFY – Placed off a ten pound higher mark than this back in November 2016 for Bernard Llewellyn but that effort remains his best effort over hurdles by quite some way so the form is up for debate. His form on the flat has been very patchy this season and now that he returns to timber the percentage call is to avoid him.