A field of nine go to post for the fifth race of the day at Newbury on Friday afternoon, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: A Listed winner at his peak, BERKSHIRE ran his best race this season when fifth at Newmarket in June and the handicapper has relented a further two pounds. He was only headed a furlong out and if building on that effort, he should be tough to beat with conditions to suit and Fran Berry taking the ride. Euginio returned this season with a fine second and looks a big danger, but he has been absent since April which is of concern and perhaps Dark Red can give the selection the most to think about. He’s finished fourth on both his starts this season for Ed Dunlop and if taking a step forward, he should be in the money.
1 BERKSHIRE – Smart sort on his day for Paul Cole, winning a Listed race at Windsor in August 2016 and he showed signs on his latest start that he was coming back to his best for connections. He ran well for a very long way when fifth at Newmarket on his latest start and the handicapper has relented a further two pounds. Conditions will suit and he stays this trip strongly, so with Fran Berry now taking the ride, he should claim his fifth career victory.
2 PACIFY – Now three pounds below his mark when placing at York in May 2016 but he’s been hugely disappointing in two runs this season for Ralph Beckett which makes him hard to fancy. He was last in the Wolfterton Handicap on his latest start and although this is obviously easier, it’s hard to see him playing a role with all things considered. Others far more likely and he can only been given an outside each way chance.
3 DARK RED – Won three times over the 1m 2f trip last year for Ed Dunlop and he’s ran well enough on two runs this season so suggest he can mount a challenge. He has finished fourth on both his runs this season, keeping on under hands and heels at Chelmsford 43 days ago and he’s down another pound in the handicap. He again has frame claims under Gerald Mosse, but others look more likely for win purposes.
4 SINFONIETTA – One win from seventeen starts for David Menuisier and he was a hugely disappointing when beaten favourite at Newbury 48 days ago. He goes well on soft ground so that was no excuse and this step up in trip isn’t sure to suit, with better ground another stumbling block for him. Others seem far more sure-fire and he should just miss out on the placings under Kieran Shoemark, who claims three pounds.
5 EUGINIO – Lightly raced three year old for Richard Hannon who improved markedly on his seasonal debut to finish a narrow second at Newmarket over today’s trip back in April. A further absence is quite disconcerting, but he faces lots of exposed types and he does have room for any amount of improvement now. Biggest danger to Berkshire if back at his best with conditions to suit, so he needs respecting.
6 GRAPEVINE – Ran well on seasonal reappearance to finish a nose second at Newbury in April, but he’s not built on that in two subsequent runs for Charlie Hills and he looks vulnerable once again. He was last seen at Epsom, finishing second last after coasting home, hampered that day but he was unlikely to get involved regardless. Possible each way claims purely because of the mark he’s on, but others make more appeal for win purposes.
7 MUTARAKEZ – Well handicapped, but his last win came back in 2015 and he’s been displaying a very poor attitude recently for Brian Meehan. He finished third at Chelmsford when last seen, but he didn’t exactly show a love for the game, hanging badly left and throwing his chance away. He’s on the same mark and if putting his head down he’d have to be considered dangerous, but you would be taking that on trust and he’s too risky for us today.
8 BANISH – Blinkers did the trick for him when winning at Kempton back in September 2016, but he’s been well held since for Hugo Palmer and needs to find something if he’s to be threatening. He showed little encouragement when fifth at Chester under Ryan Moore last time and it’s hard to fancy him despite the handicapper dropping him two pounds. More is needed and he looks set to just miss out for the placings.
9 BEARDWOOD – Slowly coming to hand for Mark Johnston, finishing fourth at Chelmsford on his penultimate start after having every change up until the final part of the race. He got blocked twice on his latest start at Pontefract so that effort can be forgiven and remaining on the same mark, he has place possibilities under Silvestre De Sousa. Conditions will suit and if he gets the gaps, he looks set to go close.