A rather disappointing turn out in terms of quantity here given the near £12,500 on offer to winning connections. Read on for our runner by runner preview and free expert tip.
IN SUMMARY: Both Niblawi and Beardwood set a decent standard at the top of the weights. The former has gone well fresh in the past but looks high enough in the handicap, while the latter hasn’t been at his best, including as recently as three days ago! The Karl Burke yard could be in better form but APRES MIDI enjoys quick ground and her pedigree suggests that she is going to continue to improve as she gets older, she looks a little overpriced here and gets the vote.
1 NIBLAWI – Enjoyed a successful 2016, winning twice over this trip for Ismail Mohamed. He saw his mark rise by a stone for those victories, so starts out for Neil Mulholland high enough in the weights, He has run well fresh all three seasons he has been in training and having scored on good to firm ground, conditions will be no problem.
2 BEARDWOOD – Typically hardy Mark Johnston campaigner, this is his easiest assignment in 2017. He is two pounds above his last winning mark, digging deep at Lingfield to win by a neck. He has run to a level a little below what he achieved in 2016 of late so despite this mark probably workable at his best, it may just prove beyond him for now, especially just three days after last being seen in action.
3 APRES MIDI – Only six starts to her credit, with the pick of them coming on the quickest ground that she has encountered. She has shaped well in a pair of Class 4 handicaps this season and although this is a step up in class, she has shown enough to suggest that she is going to up to winning at this level sooner rather than later. Her dam was a Listed winner and placed in a Group 3, which only furthers the impression that she is capable of better and looks a big price here.
4 KINGTHISTLE – 3/6 on the all weather but still a maiden on turf after sixteen attempts which is a sizeable note of caution to his chances. He was placed off a pound lower over this trip at Beverley on similarly quick ground in May, with connections adding both a tongue strap and a pair of cheekpieces in an attempt to finally get his head in front on the turf.
5 SOUND BAR – Made all to score in a mile maiden at Newbury last back end but failed to improve on that when fitted with a hood on his handicap and 2017 debut. That equipment is quickly dispensed with now and this half brother to the smart if mercurial Carntop, should improve for the step up in trip. The big question mark is the ground, he has run just the once on good to firm, comfortably his worst effort with the pick all with considerably more cut.
6 SWIFTSURE – Hinted at promise as a juvenile but has failed to go on from that this season. Sir Michael Stoute has had him gelded since making a moderate start to handicapping life at York last time out. Can’t blame soft ground for that defeat as his best run last year came on soft, while the two races his dam won were on heavy and very soft. That leaves the suitability of this quick surface very much open to question but one can never discount such a lightly raced horse from this yard completely out of hand.