Race Time: 3.45pm Meeting: Newmarket Distance: 1m 2f
Full Race Name: Unibet Handicap (Class 2)
And so to end with we have a crackerjack of a handicap that pits those with winning form against those who have it all to prove after disappointing their many fans recently, so what more can we possibly ask for. Any number could get involved in this finish but we ought to start with the William Haggas trained Awesome Power (4/1) who looks sure to take his place in the line up and could be one to reckon with at these weights. A maiden run around as a two year old was followed by a win at Lingfield on the polytrack after which he was put away before reappearing at Sandown in mid June where he won a little handicap with any amount in hand.
An extra furlong today is ideal as is the early booking of Harry Bentley to ride him again here, and as he is just the sort his trainer does so well with, bringing them along nicely race by race, he currently sits high in our consideration for this renewal, but at the price there are definitley better form picks about. With the Mark Johnston string still in great form, Mythical City (9/1) has to be added to any short list, though we are worried the handicapper may have caught up with him by now? Three wins in a row at Haydock Ripon and Chester have seen his ratings go up by a total of 19 pounds (from 64 to 83), and maybe that will weight him out of it here, though his courage could yet bring him in to a place.
Cosmic Ray (25/1) is not without a slim chance from bottom weight for trainer Andrew Balding and shows up here with a penalty for winning at Lingfield by a neck. Connections presumably feel he will go up further than his penalty for that win and are throwing him in here under Cathy Gannon but we cannot help but feel that something a little bit better may be hiding among the higher weights though he could confound us all and run in to a place?
Back again now to Sir Michael Stoute and this time with Muntadab (7/2), a lightly raced son of Invincible Spirit who has won both his faces this season and is looking to land the hat trick. Stepped up to this trip from a mile at Sandown last time out, he ran on late to beat Banditry half a length and can now be ridden more positively – on breeding they must have wondered if he would get this trip and ridden him to conserve his stamina. Paul Hanagan is expected to ride which is a good thing on our book and he goes to the top of the short list. To round things off, Richard Hannon started with four entries for this race and ends up with just the two, neither of which looks totally inspiring.
Azmaam (14/1) looks the better of the two under Dane O’Neill but was only second last time out at Newmarket and has to shoulder top weight here. With Paula Hanagan on board Muntadab it seems fair to guess he is the owner’s second string, and he is another who could possibly place, but surely can’t win – in our opinion anyway.