Seven classy mares go to post for the third race of the day at Leicester, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: This could turn into a grudge match between Desert Queen and LA VATICANE, with a 10lb weight pull for the latter likely to swing the pendulum in her favour. The latter won a three mile handicap on her latest start and is likely to build upon that in conditions that will suit for the inform team of David Pipe and Tom Scudamore. 2-2 over fences, Tagrita cannot be ignored as this extra distance is likely to bring out further improvement and has to be respected.
1 DESERT QUEEN – Only thrice raced over fences and looked smart on her first two runs, finishing second in a listed race behind Briery Belle at Warwick in December (2m 4f, Soft). She did however fall at Wincanton in an easier race than today’s, which is of concern. Back over hurdles she wasn’t disgraced when fourth in a listed race behind Lifeboat Mona and Briery Queen again and likely will need more today back over fences. Harry Fry is 6-15 in the past two weeks which is a boost and entitled to go well, though will need a soft lead to be shown at best effect.
2 CRESSWELL BREEZE – Shown a useful level of form over fences in his own right but was a long way behind Desert Queen and La Vaticane in a listed race in November (2m 7f, Good). That means she has a lot to find and is likely to struggle again on these terms, especially as she’s more exposed than most of these. Others have more pressing claims and likely best watched today.
3 KASSIS – Two wins over fences but those wins have come at a much lower level than this, finishing a well beaten fourth in a weaker listed race at Huntingdon in February (2m 3f, Soft). Unlikely to land a blow in a much tougher race than he’s used to and almost certainly best watched.
4 KILRONAN HIGH – Twice a winner over fences including on his penultimate start at Hereford (2m 4f, Good), in a useful looking race with two of those in behind winning or placing in races afterwards. She does however need more if she is to feature at this sort of level, and does look exposed against rivals with more scope for progress. Nigel Twiston-Daives is piling in the winners at present and she’s likely to run well and could place, but will need her rivals to under perform.
5 LA VATICANE – Has been a mixed bag over fences for David Pipe and was five lengths behind the less exposed Desert Queen at Market Rasen in November (2m 7f, Good). She did win on her latest start at Doncaser in handicap company (2m 7f, Good) however and is weighted to turn the tables on Desert Queen with a 10lb pull from their last encounter. Has a big chance with the Pipe team starting to hit form and Tom Scudamore also riding five winners from his last twenty-two, so has to be given the utmost respect.
6 MAGIC MONEY – Has form at a lower level over hurdles including four wins but didn’t make the best start to chasing when pitched into the deep end and tailed off after six fences, unseating the rider later on. Looks incredibly unlikely to be competitive against horses who achieved much more over hurdles and is best watched again today.
7 TAGRITA – Twice a winner over fences in class four and three races, with her latest coming at Exeter over shorter (2m 1f, Soft). Steps up markedly in trip which is likely to suit based on her hurdling form and should bring out further improvement, and she certainly doesn’t look out of place in this line up. Likely to run well for Paul Nicholls and has further scope for progress now upped in trip, so has to be respected.
8 THE ORGANIST – Very promising over hurdles in a short five race spell but hasn’t fulfilled that potential over fences, beaten by Tagrita on chase debut in November due to a bad jumping error (2m 3f, Good to Soft). Second race over fences was worse when finishing 43 lengths behind Desert Queen at Warwick when upped to listed class, and although she still remains with scope for improvement, its hard to make a case for her. Others are preferred until she gets her act together over fences.