A field of nine go to post as the action kicks off at Sandown on Wednesday afternoon. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Many of these have something to prove including African Friend who needs to settle better if he’s to threaten here for Henry Candy. The two who have little to prove are Operative and TAAJUB, with preference for the latter who was only beaten by an in-form rival over course and distance last week under today’s three pound claimer Hector Crouch. A repeat of that performance will see him very tough to beat and he can fend off that aforementioned rival, who won last time out but does have a four pound rise to contend with here.
1 PIAZON – Thrived on the Fibresand last winter for John Butler, with form figures of 112211 since December. He was last seen winning a Seller at Southwell in March, with no real competition and all of his wins came in Class 6 company. That does leave him vulnerable upped in class on his seasonal debut, with his current mark of 77 likely to be far too high for him. He’ll need to be ready to go after a 189 day absence and others are preferred.
2 AFRICAN FRIEND – Won a maiden at Bath on his second start for Mick Channon, backing that up with a far from disgraceful effort at Thirsk on handicap debut. He was disappointing at Ascot when last seen, but that was in Class 4 company and he pulled far too hard that day. If settling better he holds strong each way claims as he’s very much unexposed, but others do look more interesting on this occasion.
3 OPERATIVE – Backed up two second places when storming home to win at Goodwood last month by a neck, showing a good turn of foot after a tardy start. He won a shade comfortably that day and a four pound rise for that victory doesn’t look harsh, with Adam Kirby back in the plate. The ground is in his favour and he looks sure to play a key role for Ed de Giles, so he is respected as such.
4 ARTSCAPE – Won at Goodwood in June off of today’s mark, winning by a head after drifting right when gaining a narrow lead. He’s mainly been disappointing since though, well held on five subsequent efforts, but those were at the six and seven furlong distance. The switch to five furlongs with the addition of headgear could help to revive this five-year-old and he couldn’t be discounted if they do so as he’s on such a good mark.
5 COASTAL CYCLONE – Son of Canford Cliffs whose only victory came in a maiden at Chelmsford in December, well held on most of his efforts since for Harry Dunlop. He posted one of his better efforts when last seen over course and distance, finishing fourth after staying on well when the bird had flown. He does, however, have a poor draw to contend with on this occasion and looks vulnerable as a result, with some performers looking better treated here.
6 TAAJUB – Ten-year-old for Peter Crate who is still more than capable at this level as proven by his second over course and distance. He was only beaten by a length with the winner arriving in great form and he’s on the same mark here, with Hector Crouch taking three pounds off his back. Conditions are fine and a repeat of that performance should see him very tough to beat in a field where many have something to prove.
7 LOOK SURPRISED – Took her first victory at the second attempt on the flat, winning a weak maiden at Windsor in comfortable style. She showed good early speed when fourth at Bath on handicap debut and she’s drawn well here to attack from the front under Mitch Godwin, who takes off five pounds. She is completely unexposed and an improved performance on her second handicap start will see her being a big danger.
8 LITTLE MISS DAISY – Placed on her last three starts for William Muir, although she hasn’t looked likely to threaten the judge and has never been closer than a length away from victory. She was beaten three lengths on her latest start at Ffos Las in a Class 6 event and she’ll need to improve if she’s to come out on top now that she goes back up in class. She’s an each way player as she’s likely to run her race, but she remains vulnerable for win purposes.
9 MAD ENDEAVOUR – All four of his wins have come over the six furlong trip, either making all or racing with the leader throughout the race. He has only been seen once at the five furlong trip during his career, with that being a well beaten sixth at Chepstow in July. He looks vulnerable once again at this distance as he doesn’t seem to have the raw speed and others are readily preferred.