Race Time: 3.10pm Meeting: Ascot Distance: 1m
Full Race Name: Garrard Fillies’ Handicap Class Two
An interesting handicap is the polite way of putting it, difficult another term, but a challenge either way and one we are looking forward to.
John Gosden looks likely to send Solar Magic (5/1) here and on recent form he has to sit pretty highly on anyone’s list of possible contenders. Once again possible rain is an issue as her only career win was on good to firm going over this course and distance, but she also ran a blinder on her return to action when a respectable second to Lady Dutch in a Listed race on the polytrack at Kempton. Sent off a 7/1 chance there we suggest that implies that she may well have needed the run in which case we expect a better performance here, and dropping in class to this handicap and with Frankie Dettori in the saddle again she would be our idea of the one to beat at this stage, but only if the word soft fails to appear in the official going description.
David O’Meara trains Amazing Maria (5/1) who heads the weights and the betting at the time of writing, though how much of that is down to the form of the stable is a moot point. She is a Group Three winner in a handicap which may well explain her price (in part at least), while her move from Ed Dunlop to her new yard could yet rekindle her interest in the job at hand, but the reality is she is rated 98 so wont find life that easy – but if she is at her best she wins, and does so easily – simple as that!
Spirit Raider (15/2) is also of interest with Hayley Turner riding for James Fanshawe, a trainer who is more astute than many realise when it comes to placing his handicappers. A youngster in handicapping terms at the age of four, she has been brought along nice and slowly with four educational runs prior to her first win in a Newmarket Class Five which has resulted in an acceptable six pound rise in the weights. She looks the sort to get better with age and experience and has been trained in our view with a handicapping career in mind – granted decent going she may well be capable of placing at the very least and could even pull off a bit of a surprise. Everyone is fully aware that Richard Fahey has his horses in great form at the moment and he may well send Simply Shining (12/1) here in the search for his hat trick. Wins at Doncaster and Thirsk have been gained by a short head on both occasions, making all and fending off all challengers, but that has only resulted in a weight rise of ten pounds in total and although we doubt he is anything like the best horse in the race, he does have the heart of a lion and it will take a good or brave horse to get past him if he gets another soft lead to start with.
To round things off, Roger Charlton has bucked the habits of a lifetime and is sending out horses to win on their seasonal returns, a fact the bodes well for course and distance winner Temptress (11/2) who was most impressive here last July when destroying the useful Felwah by four and a half lengths pulling away. She has won on good to soft ground so should handle a little cut but her worst run was when eighth on soft ground at Newmarket so again, too much rain could yet end up decimating this field.