Seven and a half furlongs the trip here for a competitive handicap over a full circuit of the Roodee. Our expert tip and runner by runner preview are below.
IN SUMMARY: KENSTONE has been a remarkable story for the yard of Adrian Wintle, improving constantly since joining the yard. The way he bolted up over this course and distance last time out, he doesn’t look like he has stopped progressing and can go in again. Dan Troop is another who was an impressive winner at this track last time, he will enjoy the soft conditions and despite a huge hike in the weights looks the biggest danger. King’s Pavilion will no doubt be popular under a penalty, but he looks vulnerable on a sharp track while Shouranour probably lacks the class to win this but is well enough treated to hit the frame at a big price.
1 KING’S PAVILION – Bounced right back to form on desperate ground at Carlisle on Wednesday. He had slipped to his lowest mark for over two years so he was certainly not winning out of turn, scoring with bundles in hand. It’s no surprise that connections are desperate to get him back out again under a penalty before the handicapper gets a chance to reassess him. He has run no better than fairly in two starts here, with the best of his form coming on a stiff mile.
2 CALDER PRINCE – Is yet to get within four lengths of the winner in three starts over this course and distance. He has run well this season, saving the best of his form for Haydock. Soft ground is no problem for him but a draw wide in twelve makes his task a difficult one given that he tends to race right on the pace. Entered at Chester on Friday when also tasked with the widest stall.
3 FINGAL’S CAVE – Three times a winner in 2017, two of those coming at Catterick, a track where he has run consistently well. He has placed on two of his three runs at this course, with soft ground no problems for him. A draw in eleven is an issue however with that stall proving his undoing in a course and distance handicap last time, having nothing left in the final hundred yards.
4 ICE SLICE – Won five times in six starts in the middle of his 2016 campaign, the last of those successes coming over this course and distance from two pounds higher. He has three strong runs from four visits to this track so clearly he needs a second look when he races here. He has placed form on both soft and heavy so these conditions will be no issue, has a solid each way chance.
5 ALEJANDRO – One of a number in here who has done the best of his running when allowed his head on the speed. A draw in nine won’t make that an easy task but he has won this season for his new yard, ridden with a little more restraint than was often the case. He has the odd snippet of form on good to soft but any worse and that is going to compromise his chance in a race where he looks on a high enough mark in any case.
6 KENSTONE – Shown remarkable consistency for Adrian Wintle, not finishing outside the first three in any of his eleven starts for the yard. He has moved through the grades from Class 6 all the way through to a Class 3 win over this course and distance last time out. Wintle said after that success that he “keeps finding more, which is even surprising me, he’s got early speed and stays as well.” He handles a bit of cut in the ground and this mark may well still be within reach given his continual improvement.
7 DAN TROOP – A gelding operation has been the making of this horse, a winner in three of his four starts this season. He has been hit with a massive thirteen pound hike up the weights for his most recent win which came over this course and distance. He absolutely sluiced up by seven lengths on that occasion on good to soft ground so he should have no issues with conditions. With more improvement to come after just eight career starts, he looks a big player.
8 INSTANT ATTRACTION – Not an easy horse to win with, just 4/44 in his career. One of those wins came over seven furlongs at this track on soft ground so he should relish the underfoot conditions. He was only beaten a little over three lengths in the Royal Hunt Cup last season, slipping thirteen pounds since. He is another who likes to put the pace to the race but was beaten a long way by King’s Pavilion on Wednesday so needs considerably more.
9 SHOURANOUR – The softer the ground the better for this horse, he is equally adaptable over both seven and eight furlongs so this interim trip will be no issue. He is yet to win above Class 4 so although he is on a mark just a pound above his most recent win, he looks sure to find at least a couple too good at this level.
10 HEIR TO A THRONE – Hasn’t run on genuinely soft ground since his debut when he was well seen off. He has run well on two of his three visits to this track but ran poorly when fitted with first time cheekpieces here last time out. He is due to wear the headgear once again now which tempers any confidence in his chance. Entered at Chester on Friday.
11 TADAAWOL – Took a long time to break his turf duck, winning by seven lengths at Catterick in August to notch his first win on grass in style. He struggled badly last time having been hit with a ten pound rise in the weights for that win. That was only a Class 4 event so he is unlikely to be able to get himself involved at this level.
12 GABRIAL THE TIGER – Three wins and three places at this track, he is a standing dish here. He gets the hood put back on which is going to be a positive in a field that contains plenty (who like him) go from the front. He has the worst of the draw in twelve which is not going to help so is easily passed over. Entered at Chester on Friday.