A good quality 7f, Class 3 handicap worth a total prize fund of £11,500 and winners are sure to emerge from it in the longer term. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Bold Prediction is likely to take them along here and despite being in good form of late, remains vulnerable to something with a few more pounds in hand. Kingston Kurrajong also makes the final three with the return to handicap company being in his favour but he does have a tendency to over-race and will need to settle to have a proper chance. SPECIAL SEASON is the really interesting one following a good effort at Chelmsford when last seen a couple of months ago and has the bonus assistance of Adam Kirby in the saddle this time. With luck in-running when it matters, a big run is the least we can expect.
1 CAPTAIN CAT – Formerly classy miler when trained by Roger Charlton, winning a couple of turf Group 3’s at Haydock and Salisbury back in 2014 and has no shortage of form on the artificial surfaces. Landed the All-Weather Mile Championships final over C&D earlier that year but only 1-17 since 2015 and clearly isn’t the force of old. Has plummeted down the weights from a peak of 115 to 97, which makes him interesting on old form and wasn’t disgraced in a C&D conditions’ race three weeks ago, but might need to come further down the weights to make his presence felt back in handicapping company.
2 SUPERSTA – Couldn’t stop winning last winter, landing five All-Weather handicaps between October and February after joining Mick Appleby from Ron Harris. Won again at Chelmsford (1m, Std) in May off 93 and having dropped back to that mark, the 6-year-old finished a length behind the progressive Mythical Madness at Wolverhampton two weeks ago. 1lb higher now and not weighted out of things with a 3lb apprentice taking over in the saddle, but Lingfield might not be his track and the yard are just 5-75 around here.
3 SOMETHINGTHRILLING – In brilliant order of late, winning 2 out of 4 starts since switched back to the artificial surfaces in November and interesting to note that both wins came over C&D. Did not enjoy the best of luck at Wolverhampton (1m, Std) most recently when overturned at odds of 4/6 but was upset in the stalls and mightn’t have given her true running. Well drawn to get a good early position today but both wins were in fillies-only company and this is going to demand further improvement up against male opposition.
4 BOLD PREDICTION – Front-running 7-year-old who boasts a fine 5-17 All-Weather record and that included two successes over C&D. Ran a fine race in a similar contest last time, again over C&D, when third behind My Target and would have done better there were it not for Supersta pulling his way to the front and hindering Ed Walker’s charge from setting his own tempo. Sure to run his race, particularly if the lead is up for grabs without much pressure from the other runners, but still 3lbs above the highest mark he has defied.
5 HORSTED KEYNES – Highly thought of in the earlier part of his career when with Roger Varian. Won four of his first six starts but 0-16 since and only a couple of glimmers of hope in that time. Wasn’t disgraced over 7f at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago in a race won by Flaming Spear, just beaten around 3 lengths but now steps up to a mile and all four career wins have been over 7f. This track is sharp, which might help him to get home but there’s definitely something to prove with regards to his stamina.
6 SPECIAL SEASON – Showed some good form in 2015 as a juvenile for William Haggas, winning his maiden at Sandown (7f, Good-to-Soft) in impressive fashion and defeated a talented Godolphin horse over C&D later that year, but subsequently struggled in his 3-year-old season and is now in the care of Jamie Osbourne. The yard do well here, 29-212 (14% Strike Rate), and the horse shaped nicely second time up for them at Chelmsford last time when fifth behind Qaffaal, travelling strongly for some time. Does need to take a step forward but could be handicapped to strike off 89 and is on the shortlist.
7 KINGSTON KURRAJONG – Relatively lightly-raced 4-year-old, only had four runs in handicap company but did look useful when winning off a mark of 87 at Windsor (1m, Soft) in June. Finished fourth of 6 over C&D in a conditions’ race three weeks ago, beaten just 1.25 lengths by Alfred Hutchinson, racing keenly on the front-end before only giving way inside the final half-furlong. Faced a tough task at the weights there and could appreciate returning to handicap company, so is another to be worthy of consideration at least.
8 CHEVALLIER – Admirably consistent 5-year-old who is yet to finish out of the first four in 10 runs on the All-Weather, with four seconds and four thirds to his name. Raced over C&D for the first time last week when sent off as a 7/4 shot and looked to have the race won before being collared late on by a fast finisher from the rear. Runs off the same mark (87) and has every chance of running another excellent race, but always vulnerable to something with a bit in hand and likely to find one or two too good again.
9 TAKE THE HELM – Arrives in good order following an excellent course run (7f) ten days ago, finishing a half length second in first-time cheekpieces. That was a good step forward on what he had been doing previously as his penultimate run at Chelmsford was disappointing but yet to fully convinced that he wants to go further than 7f and whether today’s mile trip will suit remains a question mark. This also represents a step up in grade and despite having a good draw for his running style, the feeling is to oppose.
10 CHERBOURG – Formerly French trained 5-year-old who has won 3 of 18 starts, including twice on polytrack. Debuts for Ralph Beckett’s yard having been purchased for €36,000 in November and on some of his form in France, it’s possible that he could be well treated off a mark of 82. Entitled to need this run after 104 days off the track and with a 5lb claiming apprentice booked, it’s easy to overlook him. Could be worth keeping an eye on the betting as it is likely to tell a story but there are too many questions for now.