A mile and a half Class 5 handicap, only a small field are going to post but an interesting contest nonetheless. Read on for our runner by runner preview and expert tip.
IN SUMMARY: MILKY WAY is thoroughly unexposed for a five-year-old, running a smart second at Newbury last time. That was only his second run after being gelded and back from a long absence, so he is entitled to come on plenty for that performance, with the step up in trip looking like a plus. Warrior Prince should put the pace to the race; if he is left alone on the front to set his own fractions he may finally fulfil his potential. Essenaitch enjoys his racing here and, although this isn’t his best trip, he is well enough weighted to go close once more.
1 MILKY WAY – Five-year-old has only had five career runs so has clearly had his problems. He shaped well for a long way on his return from 22 months off at Goodwood before finishing runner-up at Newbury. Given how lightly raced he is there is surely more improvement in the tank with him. This step up in trip should help him to unlock that potential – he is very much the one to beat.
2 WARRIOR PRINCE – Showed some promise in 2016 despite being turned over twice at short odds in maidens. Soft ground was no help to him last time, but he still has a little to prove. This trip should be no problem given that his dam is related to smart stayers of the past Times Up and Give Notice so there is still plenty of time for him to fulfil that potential.
3 ESSENAITCH – Two wins and two places in nine starts at this track, including a place over this trip. He kept on well enough on that occasion, however the best of his form has all come over shorter than this. Still well treated on his best form, so a small three pound rise for his recent win at this track is far from insurmountable if the return to this trip helps.
4 HOUSE OF COMMONS – Yet to run over this distance, his two wins have both come over a mile. He plugged on at one pace over a mile and a quarter at Chelmsford in January but has never struck as the type who is desperate for the step up to this sort of trip, especially when that is going to be run at a decent clip with Warrior Prince in opposition.
5 ROMANOR – Eight race maiden is running to a consistent level, but without really progressing. A mile, ten furlongs and a mile-and-a-half have all been tried this season without success, running right to his best over this trip. He has only been dropped four pounds since he started out life in handicap company which probably isn’t enough to see him finish any closer than third or fourth once again.
6 BAZOOKA – A winner over ten furlongs at this track in April 2016, he has not really run close to that level of form since the June of that year. He hasn’t been seen in action since an abortive campaign over hurdles ended at Kempton in February. The very best of his turf form has come on soft ground so, with fitness to confirm on a surface that looks plenty quick enough for him, he is easy enough to pass over.
7 LESTER KRIS – Has twice run respectably over a mile-and-a-half on good to firm ground, but ran a little better in-between those runs on a softer surface. He was not really progressing when last seen in June so is going to need more if he is to break his maiden duck at the seventh attempt in this contest.