Race Time: 3.20pm Meeting: Chelmsford Day: Saturday 16th January 2015 Full Race Name: William Hill Download The App Handicap Class
Just the seven run here so a bit of a let down for each way fans with a place one and two only, but then again we plan on finding the winner so that won’t really matter!
With the William Haggas yard a little out of sorts, we will be looking for a better price as we fully expect Our Channel (4/1) to buck that trend as he has the form to do so, and is the dark horse today and the one wthey all need to get past near the line. A bit of a racing tourist, he started his career at Carlisle but has also visited Arlington Park in Illinois, Veliefendi in Turkey, and Meydan in Dubai, and ran a perfectly respectable race on his return after close to ten months off when joint runner up to Calling Out at Lingfield last month, and with that run under his belt he ought to be the one to beat in a tricky to call race on the flat for a January!
Interestingly, Luv U Whatever (11/4) is the only course winner for the likeable Michael Appleby, but is dropping back in trip to this ten furlongs having scored here last time out over a massive three and a half furlongs further. Now a six year old, he has raced a total of thirty-three times now, twenty-four of those on all-weather surfaces, and won nine of them but the last five have all been over a mile and three or more which has to be a concern. The son of Needwood Blade can make all if necessary and that may be his best chance here, and if he has got enough early speed to slip the field and inject plenty of early pace in to this contest, he could bring his guaranteed stamina in to play, we just wonder if he has enough speed these days to do that, and may well find some of these a bit too quick over this sort of trip.
As we have all learned to our cost, David O’Meara is a master in this sort of handicap and he will be running Afonso De Sousa (6/1) here, though interestingly the yard are still awaiting their first winner of 2016, though to be fair there have only been the ten runners to choose from. The fact that they are yet to hit top gear has to be a bit of a worry, but the again the horse has won over this sort of distance twice on the all-weather surface at Dundalk, and ran his best race in defeat at Kempton when a two and a half length second to Romsdal in a Listed race last March. After over eight months off he ran well enough on his return to action when fourth to Second Wave at Wolverhampton (his odds of 9/1 suggest he wasn’t exactly fancied that day), and with improvement virtually guaranteed he has a decent enough chance this afternoon and races off a mark just the three pounds higher than when last successful.
Sirius Prospect (12/1) has to carry top weight of nine stone ten for trainer Dean Ivory and in doing so leaves bottom weights Pearl Spectre and Captain Felix carrying more than their allotted handicap marks, by five pounds and seven pounds respectively. Why connections have decided to step up to this trip when he has never won beyond a mile or even tried further than eight and a half furlongs at the age of eight and in fifty races is beyond our reasoning, but he is the class act with three Listed race victories to his name and maybe they know something that we don’t ahead of this renewal?
Newmarket trainer David Simcock has been firing in the winners in the last two weeks which must increase the chances of Whispering Warrior (4/1), who will be ridden by Tom Eaves for the first time this afternoon. Off the track from November 2014 to January 2016 it seems fair to assume he will have needed the race when sixth of seven to power game over this course and distance on his comeback, somehow he has been put up two pounds for that run (when beaten less than four lengths but has won a total of seven races in his career and may not be out of things here. The seven year old did finish three and a half lengths behind Battalion at Lingfield in a Listed race the time before and the winner was last seen when rated 111 so he could still be well in here off of 95, and with the trip ideal, he looks as if he has a pretty decent chance of success.