A big field head to post for a competitive looking mile handicap. With a number of unexposed three-years-olds taking each other on, this looks like a race that will thrown up plenty more winners as the season continues. Our expert tip and runner by runner preview is below.
IN SUMMARY: GRAND INQUISITOR may not look the most obvious starting point in the field, but he has won from higher marks in the past. He is well capable for a yard who seemingly haven’t been out of form at any stage of the last year and he is a big each way price. Pursuing Steed promises to be suited by the step up in trip and should be right in the mix to continue his great run of form in 2017. Jumira Prince and Dragons Voice are others who have progressed well this season and may yet do better.
1 GRAND INQUISITOR – Hasn’t won since June 2015, not at his best so far for the Ian Williams yard. That win came off four pounds higher than this so he is well enough treated to strike again, with no concerns over the trip or ground. Cheekpieces are refitted in a bid to bring him back to that level of form; if they do he has a strong each way chance for a yard who have had a great couple of years.
2 YOUNG JOHN – First run at this trip on just his second run for Mike Murphy having left Richard Fahey. His best turf form has all been on ground with plenty of cut so connections will be hoping that there will be rain falling beforehand. He is well enough treated but is going to need a massive step up on his last of 12 on his first run for the yard.
3 ARCHIE – Made a winning debut in June 2014 but has failed to get his head in front since. He managed to grab third in a slightly stronger race than this at Yarmouth earlier in the campaign, failing to build on that in a pair of runs since. Difficult to know what to expect of him now despite the helping hand from the handicapper.
4 DIRECTORSHIP – More than two years since the 11-year-old got his head in front, he has twice filled the runner-up spot this season. He wouldn’t want the ground to be any slower than it currently is and should find at least one or two with younger legs than him stronger in the finish.
5 EXCEEDING POWER – A winner twice in 2017, he continues to climb the handicap, rarely running a bad race. He was runner-up in this race in 2016 on quicker ground from a six pound lower perch and that effort was close to a career best. He has an each way squeak but will need more again which is going to be difficult after an excess of 40 races.
6 KINGSTON KURRAJONG – Yet to win for this yard in ten starts but is beginning to run into form, placed in a similar contest to this at Sandown last time. He doesn’t find much for pressure which is always going to limit his winning chances with cheekpieces fitted of late only producing limited improvement.
7 HARLEQUIN STRIKER – Has been a few pounds shy of his best so far this season, his best effort coming over further than this at Windsor. Rainfall would be beneficial for him with three of his five wins coming on soft ground. He has won and finished second in two runs at this track so this big gallop suits him well. Each way chance if any rain arrives.
8 CRICKLEWOOD GREEN – Five of his seven wins have come over a furlong shorter than this, his pair at this trip on a sharper track at Brighton. He is a couple of pounds above the highest rating he has ever defied having scored at Ascot last month. That is enough to think that he is going to struggle to get his head in front in this one.
9 PURSUING STEED – In flying form, winning all four of his starts in handicap company. All four of them have been over seven furlongs but, judging by the way he has run powerfully through the line on each occasion, he looks sure to improve for this extra furlong. He has no concerns over the ground softening and, if able to make the step forward for this new distance as anticipated, he looks a big player.
10 DRAGONS VOICE – Twice a winner this season, he is a pound better off with Jumira Prince for being beaten a length when they met in June. It was a lesser race that he won at Windsor last time out, but he did it in taking fashion. Just six races into his career, there should be more to come, he looks one of the more likely winners.
11 CADEAUX BOXER – A maiden after nine starts, he only failed by a head to run down Madeleine Bond at this track last time. That was over seven furlongs, shaping as if this extra trip will suit him well. That winner has followed up since at Bath to give the form a boost. He has disappointed in the interim – again over the seven furlong trip here – but has an each way chance if, as expected, he improves for going back over a mile now that he has matured.
12 SET IN STONE – John Patrick Shanahan is better known for his raids on Hamilton, the track this filly has won twice at this season. This is a deeper contest than either she was successful in, but she is lightly raced enough to have extra in the tank. Any softening of the ground would suit her well and add a little more substance to her chance.
13 MR TYRELL – Yet to win in ten starts, he has filled the runner-up spot on three occasions already this season. There is nothing wrong with his attitude, he just finds others improving past him. A big field handicap could be the answer if he gets a strong pace to chase, with first time blinkers added by connections in a bid to coax a win from him.
14 VANITY QUEEN – Picked up a small maiden this time last year but she has failed to progress since. She finished last on her latest run, her first try on anything other than good to firm ground. There were nibbles for her in the market on that occasion so perhaps it was the ten furlong trip that was her undoing, but she can’t be supported with much confidence right now.
15 JUMIRA PRINCE – The gaps opened up at the perfect time when he got his head in front at Nottingham in June, twice a beaten favourite since. The win came on good to soft ground so perhaps the return to a softer surface is what he requires. Blinkers used last time when he was too keen are replaced by a visor now and he has an each way chance if they help him.
16 TITAN GODDESS – Has struggled since rattling up a hat-trick of wins last season, hit hard by the handicapper for those victories. She has shown little in two starts so far in 2017 so needs to up her game considerably if she is to get involved.