An interesting Class 3 handicap where 7 runners go to post. Plenty have been in great form lately, see below for our full race preview and experts’ tips.
IN SUMMARY: The one to focus on here is FINAL. He finished 2nd last time out at Wolverhampton and with that race now under his belt, he has a great chance today. The step up to 1 mile and 2 furlongs is a big positive considering he finished well last time and there looks to be plenty more improvement in him. Coillite Calin, Van Huysen & Qaffaal have all been running well of late and they shouldn’t be far away.
1 VETTORI RULES – Wasn’t necessarily disgraced off today’s mark after a three month break when fifth at Wolverhampton on Monday (1m 1f, Std), though was behind a few of these on that occasion. This mark looks tough and he’ll need more if he’s going to take this, hence 5lb claimer Clifford Lee taking the ride. Possible place claims if sharpened up under this more than capable claimer but others make more appeal.
2 COILLTE CAILIN – Has been flying in the main this winter for the David O’Meara yard, with two wins and two placed efforts from six runs. His latest third at Wolverhampton was a good effort when only beaten around half a length by Pactolus at Wolverhampton on Monday (1m 1f, Std). Remains on the same mark which he still is likely to be able to progress off of and has to be respected with Martin Harley taking over the ride. Main candidate.
3 FORCEFUL APPEAL – Has been running well this winter in the main, winning on Boxing Day at Wolverhampton over the 1m 1f trip and wasn’t disgraced despite a 2lb rise to finish third over the same C&D a few weeks later. He was also likely to struggle here in a listed race over C&D last Saturday when finishing seventh, though he didn’t have much luck in running. Capable 5lb claimer Hollie Doyle takes over who is riding very well at present and Simon Dow’s nine year old looks to have a brilliant chance here on the same mark as his last run. Has to be respected.
4 QAFFAAL – Has been having a brilliant winter since being switched to the all weather, with form figures of 111229 since September. Perhaps leading didn’t suit when ninth on his latest start which is a valid excuse and he looks likely to run another good race off the same mark as his second here on his penultimate start. He does need to prove his stamina at this trip but his efforts over the mile suggest that is entirely possible and he looks a likely player today for Michael Easterby. Place contender for sure.
5 VAN HUYSEN – Progressive handicapper who won twice over C&D in December, and has lost nothing in defeat the last twice against some tough opponents. Has half a length to find with Coillte Cailin on their C&D running in January but another bold bid is expected under Sean Levey off this career high mark. Still may have more progression in him at the age of five and has lively place claims today if getting the gaps.
6 FINAL – Had been improving nicely in the summer and returned from a five month absence when finishing a good second at Wolverhampton on Monday (1m 1f, Std), and is likely to build upon that effort today. Mark Johnston’s yard remains in good form at present and as a lightly raced five year old there is still likely to be progression forth coming with Joe Fanning taking the ride. A mark of 83 is unlikely to be beyond him and he has to have a brilliant chance of winning off this mark.
7 BLACK NIGHT – Had been set some impossible tasks in autumn on the turf in listed and group company, well beaten on all occasions as expected. He’s been over hurdles the last twice at Wincanton and Warwick where he was again, well beaten and this looks an impossible task today against some inform rivals. Best left alone today.