Winners at odds of 28/1, 14/1 and 12/1 in the last ten years suggest this is a wide open handicap and so it looks for the 2016 renewal with John Gosden the only trainer to double up, and he doesn’t even hold an entry this season. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any intriguing runners this season and we want to start with Roger Varian’s well regarded Uae Prince (2/1), a twice raced son of Sea The Stars who was third on his debut over ten furlongs at Leicester before stepping up to this trip at the same track and running away with his maiden by four and a half lengths despite being heavily eased at the line after bursting clear when asked to win his race. Runner-up Arthur McBride won a handicap next time out for Nigel Twiston-Davies so the form has been franked and if he is even half as good as the exaggerated gallops reports suggest then he could well win this with is head in his chest off a rating of just 93 which may be pretty generous.
Hugo Palmer gets his mention as he does most weeks though we are hoping he relies on To Be Wild (7/1) who has one win from his two starts but looks the sort to improve with age and experience. A fifth at Newmarket last September was him put away for the winter before he reappeared at Ffos Las in late July to win over this trip by a length and three quarters. The second and third have both won since so the form has an above average look to it but he will need to improve to take a hand here but after just the two races that is more than possible with Champion jockey Jim Crowley most likely to be in the saddle.
Newmarket handlers look set to dominate here and William Haggas has an interesting one in Wrangler (14/1) who has clearly had his problems but seems pretty decent when they can get him right. Now a five-year-old, he won a couple of races over this trip in 2014 before finishing ninth at Ascot in the Shergar Cup Classic after which he wasn’t seen again for over two years before returning with a tenth of twelve at Windsor when almost carried out and being left with no chance of success. Sure to strip a lot fitter for his comeback (there is just no substitute for race fitness), he has been dropped two more pounds and has won off of higher, though whether he will ever be the same horse after whatever ailed him is an open question and one that needs to be considered.
Argus (14/1) took this last year off a rating of 89 for trainer Ralph Beckett and he is entered again racing off exactly the same mark so must have some kind of chance. Sadly he hasn’t really been in the same form recently with three poor efforts since that victory, culminating with a sixth and a quarter length fifth at Salisbury earlier this month perhaps his best effort, and he needs to do an awful lot better this afternoon regardless of a recent drop in the ratings to a winnable mark.
To polish things off we can’t just ignore Huge Future (9/2) who has won two of his four starts and was second last time out over ten furlongs at Newmarket. He steps up in trip this afternoon and did look a bit one paced over that trip suggesting the step up this afternoon could well suit him even better, though as rating of 99 seems more than high enough.