This is a tricky handicap chase over 2m 5f with plenty of chances, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: It’s tempting to stick with King Of Glory who showed he retained all of his ability with a very good run last time out. However, a chance is taken on ROTHMAN to end his frustrating run and finally get his head in front for Chris Gordon. He’s by no means the safest prospect in the field, but he’s shown he has the ability to win in this grade and off this mark and he’s a fair price to do so today. The Geegeez Geegee deserves respect but he has a little to prove now back up in grade.
1 KING OF GLORY – Lightly raced type for a trainer in red hot form with 6 wins in the last 14 days. Got off the mark with a win at Warwick at the end of 2015 off a rating of 108 and ran a great race off a 14-month break when unable to catch Willoughby Hedge having badly stumbled and blown his chance 2 out. To his credit he stayed on but will have to give lots of weight away here now dropped back into Class 4 company. The step back down in trip will suit and he is clearly in good form and he should run well again providing he doesn’t regress from that first run back off a long break.
2 ROTHMAN – An ex-Paul Nicholls inmate, he’s failed to win since his handicap debut over fences back in summer 2015 and continues to frustrate with a string of placed efforts. Today’s Soft going will suit and with a C&D win as a well as a placed effort here, Chris Gordon’s runner definitely enjoys it around Fontwell. Today’s Class 4 is a considerably weaker contest than he’s faced on his last few starts but he’ll be giving weight to most of his rivals as a result of that now carrying 11st 13lbs. He’s still relatively unexposed for his age and he’s certainly capable of winning a race like this so is respected now stepped down in grade.
3 THE ITALIAN YOB – Beaten a long way on all his starts this season and arrives here in poor form. He remains in Class 4 company having slipped down the weights a further 4lbs since his last run but loses 7lbs (riders claim) as Leighton Aspell takes over the ride which leaves him effectively worse off at the weights here. He has partnered him to victory in the past though and given this is the first time he rides him this season, possibly suggests connections expect a better showing today. He’s worthy of another chance but it’s a tough ask to support him today given recent form and this 9 year old continues to regress and is best watched. Market support would be interesting though.
4 JOHN’S LUCK – Has hit good form this season with two wins and a placed effort in weaker contests than this. He ran respectably in defeat last time out (winner has since won again) when shouldering 12st 2lbs but this will be a much tougher test against better opposition now stepping up in trip by 2 furlongs. Connections will be hopeful the extra distance can bring out more improvement in him and Harry Reed claims a valuable 7lbs off his back but he will have to continue on an upward curve in this and may just be worth opposing against slightly better opposition.
5 WIZARDS BRIDGE – Switches back to chasing following three runs over the smaller obstacles having been well beaten in tougher races. He’s dropped 5lbs from his last chase mark and steps into Class 4 company for the first time in well over a year but he’s yet to show the same fluency over fences. Conditions should suit but he was beaten by The Italian Yob when the pair met at Exeter last year and he’s another unreliable sort in this field and will need all the ability of Tom O’Brien to get him home in front.
6 ASTIGOS – This French recruit has a very poor record in the UK, winning just once from 23 starts. Tom Gretton picked him up for £7,000 over the summer and he makes his fourth start for him here but will need to show some serious improvement to win this. He contested at a fair level for Venetia Williams but couldn’t break his UK maiden tag until dropped into Class 4 company. He failed to build upon that and although he continues to slip down the weights, was pulled up off just 4lbs higher on his last start. Today’s ground should suit but the step back up in trip isn’t sure to rekindle any sort of revival and his regressive profile suggests he’s best watched.
7 THE GEEGEEZ GEEGEE – Arrives here on the back of a win when a well-supported 2/1 favourite at Fontwell off a mark of 99. He’s 2 wins from 2 starts in Class 5 company but his record in Class 4 company is 1 win from 14 starts and he will find this tougher off a mark of 104. He should come on for his last run when returning from a 4 and a half month break and gets plenty of weight from his rivals. He has racked up 3 wins from 7 starts on this going and with a 33% strike rate at this course, has to be respected now he goes for the double.