A big field for our race preview and betting tips to consider, so rather than try and analyse every horse on paper we’ve been through the field and picked out some of the main contenders.
To start with, our betting tip for the race. Andrew Balding has been in among the winners in recent weeks and he has a bang in form contender in Dancing Star who won his first two races of the 2016 season at Salisbury and Goodwood and finished second to Mr Lupton at York last time out when caught close home after bursting clear of the field. Put up another seven pounds for that run, the handicapper hasn’t been the kindest but he’s a horse in great form and the way he ran at Goodwood suggested he has the potential to be a top class horse. The horse which beat him last time out was sent off just 1/2 for a Group 3 on the All Weather and was far from disgraaced, and also finished 3rd in a competitive Class 2 Handicap at Newmarket off 102, so we’re happy to take an Each Way price here.
Charlie Hills won this race last year with Magical Memory and may well try to double up in 2016 with the penalized Shanghai Glory who was last seen winning at Epsom when getting up in the final strides to beat Iseemist a head, a result that sees him forced to carry an added six pounds this afternoon. The son of Exceed And Excel has been in good form already and that last win made it two victories and two second places from four starts this season, though we do wonder if that added extra weight could well be enough to stop his run of consistency this afternoon.
Taneen is all set to lump round joint top weight of nine stone seven here for trainer Roger Varian, but he is only lightly raced and may yet be a Group class horse running in a handicap, according to recent gallop reports. Last time out in a Class Three handicap at Leicester he quickened up very smartly to put over four lengths of daylight between himself and nearest pursuer Madrinho, really catching the eye in the process. Whether he will be as effective on a slower surface is the big question (and one we have no answer to sadly), but if he does handle it then he would be perhaps the number one contender, and we get the feeling that in the long term he may well be destined for bigger and better things.
The burden of top weight does not fall on one horse alone and Richard Hannon’s King Of Rooks has to be of some interest if inly we could guarantee he would get back to his superb early two-year-old form that included a five length demolition of the classy Buratino who is now ranked fifteen pounds his superior. That is evidence of both his downfall and how well in at these weights he could be if they can find a way to rejuvenate him, though in all honesty his runs this season have been so far behind the standard needed that it may take a minor miracle or some change of head gear to get him back in the first four home, let alone to the head of the pack where it really matters.
Lastly, and for those who like a bit of each way value, Martin Dwyer seemed pretty keen on keeping the ride on Show Stealer after scoring on the son of Showcasing at Newmarket (the other course) when pulling off a 22/1 shock for trainer Rae Guest. The odds imply he badly needed the run and will improve which could well see him well handicapped having been put up just the seven pounds and if he is a big price as we expect we could yet be sorely tempted.