An interesting Class Two handicap over ten furlongs and with zero history to work with we all start with a clean slate though that doesn’t mean a lack of interesting horses by any means. Looking at the in-form yards as a starting point and Mark Johnston comes to mind with Dessertoflife (16/1) arriving with solid looking chances. Put up to a rating of 101 after winning a Group Three at Baden Baden in September last season she has been coming down the weights slowly ever since and has finished close up without really threatening in some more competitive handicaps and runs this afternoon off a mark a pound lower than when fourth at Haydock on a softer surface but back on quicker ground at last we can all expect a much better run.
Naturally, the race is full of dangers possibly headed by the Charlie Hills trained Zaakhir (25/1 Each Way) who gets weight all round but does have to run from slightly out of the handicap. Fourth in her last two runs over a mile and a half and a mile and a quarter, she has pulled too hard for her own good negating any chance she may have had, but if the excellent Josephine Gordon can get him to settle then he may well have a lot better chance than his price seems to imply with her claim an added bonus.
When we chatted to trainer Brian Meehan back in April he told us Malmoosa (10/1) was a winner waiting to happen, and so it proved when she took her maiden last time out over this trip at Lingfield on the turf, though only after four losses even if she was placed in three of them. A big strong filly still filling out her frame she is the sort to perhaps go on from that run (she took her race by a length and three quarters after making all the running before being heavily eased down), and could well shrug off a rating of 87 if the same tactics are employed this afternoon as seems likely.
Connections of David Simcock’s High Hopes (6/1) will have exactly that as the daughter of Zamindar looks to make it three wins in a row this afternoon having picked up two wins at Ffos Las in August and September. Although she only won her last race by a single length she could hardly have been any more impressive, cruising up to the lead with jockey Jamie Spencer totally motionless and easing past for a success that may well be worth an awful lot more than the seven pounds the handicapper has given her. If that is a correct assumption, then she could be well in this afternoon and deserves her place in race preview.
In a race full of interesting runners Roger Varian has decided to rely on Sharja Queen (6/1) this afternoon and she has some solid form already this season including a very easy six length win at Salisbury in a Class Three handicap. Put up a full stone for that she tried her luck in Listed class when a well beaten fifth to Chain Of Daisies back at Salisbury but dropped back in to handicap class she must have a better chance despite her over the top handicap rating.