A field of 12 go to post for this long distance staying handicap. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The softer ground is going to make this a real test, but that will favour WITH PLEASURE who will relish a stamina-sapping race. He won over the 2m 1f distance at Bath in August and backed up that effort when second on his latest start over 1m 4f, clearly needing further. He gets that today and a repeat performance off only two pounds higher will see him very tough to beat. The main danger is Hope Is High, who arrives on a hat-trick and could be suited by this step up in distance.
1 HOPE IS HIGH – Progressive sort for John Berry who produced a career best on his latest start to win a handicap at Bath in good style, making giant strides late on to catch the eventual second close home. He is seven pound higher here, but should find further improvement from this step up in distance, with Silvestre De Sousa retaining the ride which is an obvious plus. He goes with cut in the ground and should be going close here.
2 WITH PLEASURE – Took his second career victory when winning over the 2m 1f distance at Bath in August, so stamina will be of no concern for this four-year-old. He was last seen at Newbury finishing second over the 1m 4f distance, only beaten by a younger progressive type and he’s only two pounds higher here. He goes on softer ground and should be tough to beat with a repeat performance now upped in distance.
3 DUKINTA – Lightly raced daughter of Dubawi who has only run five times, winning by eight lengths on handicap debut when upped in distance by Hugo Palmer. She wasn’t as good on her latest start when raised 11 pounds, but you could make excuses for that run and she has each way claims on the form of her easy Bath win. Softer ground seems to be her optimum and she should be in the hunt.
4 DESERT CROSS – Arrives here in good form for Jonjo O’Neill, winning on his latest start at Bath over the 1m 6f distance, pushed out under hands and heels. He had something in hand that day so a three pound rise doesn’t look excessive, the main issue, however, is softer ground which is far from ideal. If he does handle it then he’d have to be considered, but, judging by his previous softer ground form, he should just miss out here.
5 SPIRITOFTOMINTOUL – Hasn’t won since February 2016 and he doesn’t arrive here in the best of form, continuing to prove very frustrating to follow. He was well held on his latest start at Kempton, never in the hunt and, despite the first time blinkers going on, he remains completely opposable on this occasion.
6 INNOKO – Has run well in three starts for his new stable this season, winning on stable debut at Bath and he has placed on two subsequent starts. He was only a neck behind With Pleasure on his latest start at Bath and they’re likely to be closely matched again, with this drop back in trip ideal for him. The softer ground is no problem and he’s a leading contender under the in-form Pat Cosgrave.
7 GRAMS AND OUNCES – Won off this mark at Chepstow in July for Grace Harris, but he’s been well held on two subsequent starts, last seen at that same venue in sixth, well beaten. He’s a pound lower here and has softer ground which suits him, but he does need to bounce back in a big way if he’s to be winning this. He’s an each way player off a workable mark, but others look more likely for win purposes.
8 DELANNOY – Had shown modest form for most of his career before winning a seller at Goodwood on his latest start by six lengths, raised three pounds in the handicap. That was in the first-time visor and clearly worked, but today’s softer ground looks unlikely to suit and that puts a damper on his claims, especially as others simply have much better form in the book. Others are preferred on this occasion.
9 WASSAIL – Only one win to her name so far, with that coming over today’s trip at Nottingham in June off a three pound lower mark. She placed at Bath in August off one pound lower when second (behind Hope Is High) before posting a below par effort at Kempton, although she has excuses for that. She’ll be much happier on turf, however softer ground is a big question mark as she’s untried on it. David Egan takes off three pounds, but others look far more interesting on this occasion.
10 EDEN DUBAI – Front-runner for John Flint who remains a maiden after 12 runs and although he’s not run badly at points this season, he does tend to go off far too hard early on. He was beaten by five lengths at Bath on his latest start after going off too quickly early on and he paid for it in the final furlong, with more cause for concern on that front now that he’s upped four furlongs in distance. Others are preferred on that basis.
11 AFFAIR – Won on his penultimate start at Bath over today’s distance, keeping on well to beat some modest opposition. Dropped back in distance he couldn’t keep up the gallop from the front when third at the same venue. He should be happier back at this distance, but he looks vulnerable for win purposes against some better opposition than he’s previously faced.
12 VEXILLUM – Course and distance winner who hasn’t been disgraced in two runs since returning to the flat for Neil Mulholland. He was sixth at Kempton on his latest start when not beaten far, with a step up in trip likely to suit him here. The in-form Hollie Doyle takes off three pounds which is useful, but he is out of the handicap here and does need to raise his game. Softer ground is a question mark and he’s best watched.