A tightly fought mile handicap looks assured with just the four pounds covering the first seven in the handicap and six distance winners (plus a course and distance winner at the bottom). Read on for our race preview and selection ahead of the 3.40pm at Chepstow this afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: An interesting looking handicap and one that seems likely to go to David Simcock’s ZYMYRAN who ran a blinder in a much better race at York. He will appreciate the drop back to this class and Ehtiraas is perhaps his biggest danger on only his second outing this season.
1 BREDEN – Linda Jewell’s seven-year-old was off the track from August 2015 (when trained by John Gosden) until his first run for his new connections when a really good runner-up to Secret Art over the Windsor mile. Sadly, he appears to have “bounced” after that run, with a seven-and-a-quarter length fourth to Toulson and a five-and-a-quarter length sixth to Don’t Give Up. Both of those runs were back at Windsor when stepped up to a mile and a quarter. One of his three career wins was over that trip at Newmarket, so it is hard to use stamina as an excuse. Despite being dropped three pounds and being down in class as well, he still arrives here with plenty to prove.
2 ELTEZAM – One maiden win over six furlongs at Haydock from his first ten starts explains why he was sold on by Al Shaqab Racing. He has only had the one run for Amanda Perrett when finishing an 11 length ninth over this trip at Kempton. He was never really involved enough that day to decide if he lacked the stamina or not and he will need to be ridden much more positively here to get a look in. Nevertheless, he is undoubtedly well handicapped on his better form and could surprise them all if able to repeat that.
3 EHTIRAAS – One win and six places from just the eight starts suggest that he has plenty of ability. He has had just the one run this season when second to See The Master, so there is every chance that he has more to offer. The son of Oasis Dream was gelded over the winter which may well explain his absence. If he can build on that – as seems likely – then he ought to be able to get involved in the finish here. Trainer Owen Burrows is in good form with three wins from ten runners in the last two weeks (30%), while jockey Dane O’Neill is hitting 18%, both positives in this race and suggesting that he should be a major player here.
4 RIGOLETTO – Lightly raced with just the five starts for Luca Cumani, with wins at Yarmouth to take his maiden in June and then Newmarket in a Class 4 handicap off a rating of 79 later the same month. Put up six pounds for his second success, he got no run at all when fourth next time out back at Newmarket. He then finished a length third to Surrey Hope at Salisbury when possibly left with too much to do by Jamie Spencer who rides again here. If he is able to be kept a little nearer today then he can be a major player and certainly looks to have room for improvement over the months ahead.
5 ZYMYRAN – David Simcock’s gelding has won three of his 12 starts now, with the latest in a first-time hood at Newmarket in mid-August when seeing off Dowayla by an easy two-and-a-quarter lengths. Stepped up in class last time out at York, he finished a perfectly respectable sixth to Mojito in a Class 2 handicap off of the same mark as he has this afternoon. Dropped in class, he is yet another with a big chance today with Sean Levey in the saddle.
6 WHIP NAE NAE – One of only two last time out winners in this contest after scoring by a staying-on length and a quarter at Newmark on the July course last month for his second success. He has been put up an added three pounds for that effort, but immediately after that contest Richard Hannon’s assistant Tom Ward said, “Whip Nae Nae has to be produced late and Tom rode a great race on him. Hopefully he can improve from this”. Tom Marquand is back in the saddle so he could go well if he gets the rub of the green when needed.
7 REDGRAVE – Charlie Hill’s gelding ran his first poor race in some time when seventh of eight at Newmarket, however he was running for the second time in nine days which may well be the reason. He was beaten 15 lengths which could have left its mark on the son of Lope De Vega who has been left on the same handicap mark. That may prove to be a fraction too high for him in this class.
8 MISTER MUSICMASTER – Officially rated 11 pounds inferior to his nearest rival, he only gets six pounds due to the age allowances and looks up against it here. The eight-year-old did win his tenth race on his 76th start last time out at Bath when held up before quickening past Rinaria for a two-and-a-half length victory. That performance has seen him put up five pounds here which makes life trickier. He can add to his £55,166 career prize money here, although probably only via some minor place money.