A competitive looking field for this £3396 to the winner sprint for three-year-olds where the lower drawn may have the smallest of advantages over the minimum trip, but perhaps not enough in this field to make enough difference. Three runnings so far have seen winners at 8/1 and 15/1 (twice), so the first winning favourite is yet to come home in front, and with not one course winner in the field this could get interesting. The full horse by horse race preview for the Sharp’s Doom Bar Handicap continues below.
IN SUMMARY: SECRET AGENT was gelded over the winter and posted a career best effort on return at Bath to finish second to Jashma, who he meets on four pound better terms this time around under 5lb claimer George Wood. Add the fact he is now race fit after that run and his claims are obvious for all to see for trainer William Muir, who is in great form at present. The biggest danger could come from Dashing Poet, who ran well when last seen on the all weather at Wolverhampton.
1 FOXCATCHER – Top weight for the Clive Cox trained filly who runs here off a handicap rating of 72, which is basically based on a second in a Bath nursery when two and a half lengths second to Mercers last September which she followed with a maiden win over this trip at Windsor. Returning for the new season at Salisbury she was tried over a sixth furlong when weakening close home to be beaten six lengths at the line but dropped back in trip today she should run well even of the Cox yard are only two from eighteen in the last two weeks for an 11% strike rate which could be bettered.
2 RED ALERT – A gelded son of Sleeping Indian with one win from eight races courtesy of a Chelmsford maiden win over six furlongs on the all-weather when making all the running for a length and three-quarter success from Calypso Jo who was beaten twelve lengths next time out. He ran in the same Salisbury race as Foxcatcher when finishing fifth, again after trying to make all the running, but dropped back to this trip he could take some catching if he can establish an early lead. Trainer Joseph Tuite is in good sorts with a 25% strike rate in the last fourteen days courtesy of three winners and a level stakes profit of 17 points which suggests Red Alert will run well today.
3 JASHMA – One win from six starts so far at Bath over this trip this season, having been gelded after three poor unplaced efforts as a juvenile. Running on well over the five furlongs in mid-May he was kept to the minimum trip at Goodwood last time out off six pounds higher when a length and three-quarters third to Rebecca Rocks at the end of May staying on at the one pace. Put up another pound for that run he may find it tough to win again over this trip and looks to be crying out for anther furlong though trainer Richard Hughes obviously thinks differently and should know better than anyone else what he needs to win again.
4 COMPTON LANE – An interesting contender with just the one win from nine starts and three very poor runs this season with a six-length sixth at Wolverhampton, a nine and a half lengths sixth at Nottingham, and a twenty-three lengths sixth at Salisbury when tried over seven furlongs last time out. There is obviously a feeling in the Rod Millman stable that he stays further which makes the drop back to the minimum trip all the more surprising but the yard are in great form with three winners from eleven runners in the last two weeks for a 27% strike rate and a 12.50 point level stakes profit and he could go better than expected at a big price.
5 KINGS ACADEMY – The Paul Cole stable are struggling a little with just the one winner recently from twelve runners and this Mayson colt seems unlikely to make those statistics any better. Still a maiden after eight starts he finished a thirteen length sixth of nine to Jet Setter in a Leicester claimer last month, racing prominently throughout before weakening late on over the seven furlongs. He did place over this trip
6 SECRET AGENT – Trained by the amicable William Muir and to be ridden by George Wood who is good value for his five pound claim, the son of Equiano ended his juvenile season as a poor maiden but was gelded over the winter and reappeared at Bath over this trip to put in a career best effort when second to Jashma over this trip in a Class Five handicap off a rating of 65, and he meets that rival on four pound better terms now. Add the likelihood that he will be race fit now after his first run in close to five months and his chance is obvious under Wood, so he has to be respected.
7 DASHING POET – Two wins on the all-weather at Chelmsford and Wolverhampton in Class Six handicaps over this trip in March this year saw his rating put up to 66 but he has run well since with a third last Wednesday back at Wolverhampton when beaten a length and a quarter by Krystallite and Cruise Tothelimit. Generously left on the same handicap mark today he has obvious each way claims but there is a sneaking suspicion that he saves his best for the all-weather and may not be as effective on the turf.
8 LIGHTOLLER – Fourteen races without a success and just the four places, Mick Channon’s gelding is not an obvious contender and will need to offer up a little bit more than when third to Sitar at Nottingham last time out. That was a Class Five and by stepping up in class here he does get to carry a lower weight, in this case just nine stone and interestingly the Channon yard have booked top South African jockey Gavin Lerena to ride which may help him challenge for a place at least.
9 CORONATION COTTAGE – Lightly raced after just the five starts, four last season and the one this, but needs to improve considerably if she wants to take a hand. Trained in Somerset by Malcolm Saunders, her best effort so far was a four-length third on her Chepstow but last time out all she could manage was a fifteen and a half length fifth of seven in a Wolverhampton maiden after leading before weakening late on over the six furlongs. If she tries the same tactics here it will be interesting to see if she can get away form the field off bottom weight and although an outsider she could yet run a big race today with Charlie Bennett taking three pounds off her back.