Just the two historical runnings of this six-furlong contest so far and punters are yet to see a winning favourite. With runners aged from three to eight we have potential versus experience once again, so read on for our horse by horse race preview ahead of the 3.40pm at Nottingham this afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: The forecast good to soft ground should play into the hands of SHAMSAYA for the in form Simon Crisford stable who are operating at a 25% strike rate at present. He has been competing in much better company than this and can take advantage of the drop in class.
1 WENTWORTH FALLS – One win from one run here when successful in November last year but that was over the minimum trip of five furlongs though he has won over six furlongs twice so the trip shouldn’t be an issue. His current rating is three pounds higher than his best winning mark which is a possible issue and he did finish behind Sir Billy Wright, Giant Spark, and Englishman last time out but is better off at the weights and will go close granted a clear run now.
2 DOUGAN – Six wins and seven places from just the twenty-six starts for the son of Dutch Art and over £60,000 in prize money for connections is not a bad return, and he can perhaps be forgiven his last two starts when upped in class at both Windsor and Ascot. Beaten less than five lengths in each, he finished four and a half lengths behind winner Danzeno last time out in a Class Two off the same handicap rating of 94 but ought to appreciate the drop in grade and may well challenge at the business end this afternoon.
3 SEEKING MAGIC – Eleven runs now since his last win (disqualified at Goodwood in May 2016), but plenty of places mean he runs off just eight pounds less today despite all those losses. Trainer Clive Cox is more than capable with his sprinters as proved by the July success of Harry Angel in Group One company at Newmarket and is ticking over with three winners from his last twenty-three runners (13%), and if he is back to his best he is certainly well weighted, though his recent efforts haven’t seen him at his peak.
4 SIR BILLY WRIGHT – The only last time out winner in this field after the six-year-old scored at Thirsk over this trip for trainer David Evans. He ran on nicely that day to see off Bossipop by three-quarters of a length with plenty of these in behind, and even on worse terms here could take some stopping if able to repeat that effort off four pounds higher today. After his last run one of his owners was quoted as saying “Sir Billy Wright is a tough sort and he needs some cut in the ground so we were pleased the rain came for him” which is a positive with the current going description of Good to Soft right up his street.
5 GIANT SPARK – The only course and distance winner in the field after winning here as a four-year-old last season and appears to handle any going with wins on good to firm, soft, and yielding to soft at Navan in October last year. Finished five lengths behind Sir bully Wright at Thirsk last time out and meets that rival on seven pounds better terms and may well be able to reverse that form at this track granted a good start and a clear run. Paul Midgley is in good form with a 17% strike rate in the last two weeks and the five-year-old could go well at a price today.
6 ENGLISHMAN – Just the one recent winner from a mere seven runners for trainer Milton Bradley and this seven-year-old seems less likely than some to add to those statistics. Last time out at Thirsk he finished five and a half lengths behind Sir Billy Wright who he meets today on three pounds better terms but on paper that is not enough to turn that around and he ought to struggle unless he gets the rub of the green.
7 SHAMSAYA – An interesting contender for the in-form Simon Crisford who has had five winners from his last twenty runners (25%). One run this season saw an acceptable seventh to Eartha Kitt in a valuable Class two handicap at York on his first race in over seven months beaten just over five lengths at the line when sent off a 14/1 chance, and if he strips fitter now off two pounds lower he has to have every chance of a third career win now he has been dropped slightly in class.
8 LEXINGTON TIMES – Not the easiest horse to win with after two victories from thirty-eight starts but gradually dropping down the weights and has won off higher marks in the past. Last seen finishing fifth of nine in a lesser contest at Hamilton and looks up against it here.