£3,769 is up for grabs for the winner of the 3rd race at Fontwell on Sunday, a staying handicap chase. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Being back on his last winning mark may be the boost SONNY THE ONE needs to get his head back in front. Although not completing his last two races, he has been quite unlucky in both. Softer ground is where he is in his element and the trip is likely to suit on previous runs, so should be hard to peg back for the Robert Walford yard. His likely main danger is Bears Rails, but he is looking high in the weights and may struggle again today.
1 SO FINE – Thoroughly beaten on his last three starts, unable to justify favouritism on his latest at Wincanton in December (3m 1f, Good to Soft). Has conditions to suit today as he’s got good form on softer ground but he’s clearly in the veteran stage as an 11 year old and is showing signs of regression. Easy to oppose on balance.
2 SONNY THE ONE – Back on his last winning mark which is bound to be a help and he’s arguably been unlucky the last twice, unseating his rider at Lingfield on penultimate start when diving at the fence and landing awkwardly. He was then travelling well Wincanton latest when being brought down in a melee which he could do nothing about, with the race being declared void nonetheless. The softer conditions for the race are right up his street as well as the trip which he is bound to stay on precious evidence, and should put up a bold bid to win his second race over fences.
3 BEARS RAILS – Still 4lb above his last winning mark, with that win coming at Exeter in March over much shorter (2m 3f, Good to Soft). Has been struggling since then however and was brought down on his latest start at Wincanton in a race declared void (3m 1f, Soft) on Boxing Day. Has quite a bit too prove at present and likely needs the handicapper to give him some help, so despite having conditions to suit, he only has place claims at his best today.
4 AMIRAL COLLONGES – Only thrice raced over fences thus far and has improved with each run, finishing a close 2nd on his latest start at Market Rasen (3m 3f, Good to Soft). The 2lb rise given to him after that display could be generous as the drop back in trip is likely to be a help and the softer ground will be no worry for him today. If this race turns into a slog and stamina is brought into question he will certainly be one of the ones staying on the best and has to have Each Way claims if this race doesn’t come too soon after just a 13 day break.
5 THE CHUCKMESITER – Hadn’t shown a great deal over fences, completing only three of his four starts until improving markedly to win over C&D in early December (3m 1f, Good). Only raised 5lb which could turn out to be quite lenient if he can progress again here today, but there is concern that this return to softer ground may not be a help, as he has been well beaten on all starts to date with soft in the description. Chris Gordon has been struggling at present with no winners from his last twenty runners which is another downside but in a race full of question marks, he does have place claims.
6 HOW’S MY FRIEND – Lightly raced 12 year old who hasn’t been seen since May 2014 when well beaten at Stratford (3m 3f, Good to Soft). 8lb below his last winning mark on his return today which is a workable one if returning to his best, but that is hard to trust and it would be a brilliant training performance by Grant Cann if he did manage to sneak into the money today. On balance he is easy to oppose with so many question marks, and is best left alone today.
7 ROPARTA AVENUE – Won on penultimate start at Plumpton in April 2016 with a smooth success (3m 1f, Good), but was nowhere near as good on his latest start in June over C&D, well beaten in 4th and the last finisher (3m 1f, Good). Still on a mark of 88 despite that poor showing, which is 12lb above his mark before winning at Plumpton which is quite a concern, with a return to softer ground not necessarily any help as he has been well beaten on all attempts on ground such as this. Best watched on his first start since June.