4.00pm Wolverhampton Tips & Betting Preview 22/12/2016

Thirteen go to post for this 0-75 handicap in which a number of horses come into this with good recent form. Read on for our expert’s thoughts and betting tips.

IN SUMMARY: New Agenda and Maifalki both come into this off the back of wins and they should continue their progression in this. The latter can make it interesting if forcing the pace which could suit The Third Man who should run well if they go off quick but it’s worth chancing that GENERAL HAZARD can regain the winning thread after performing with credit over further on his last start. He should appreciate the drop back to this trip and looks to be a slightly hardier performer than most of his rivals. He is still on a good mark despite landing a double earlier this month and he could be tough to pass again.

1 New Agenda – New Approach gelding who justified favouritism over C&D on his last start 10 days ago, staying on strongly to take an amateur riders event by just under four lengths from the reopposing Polar Forest. Small penalty for this but should continue to run well at this level and he has good shout.

2 Marcret – Hasn’t won since landing a 7.5f handicap in better company last Autumn at Chester (Soft). Seems to like it there with four wins but has been disappointing in five runs this year including his last start over C&D last month. Hasn’t won in seven AW runs and hard to see him being in a position to win this for all that he’s 14lb lower than his last win.

3 Polar Forest – Won over C&D two years ago and left behind a losing streak of fourteen months when staying on well to land a similar race at Newcastle two starts ago over further. Followed up with a good second behind New Agenda over C&D ten days ago and connections try a visor for the first time in this race. Probably held by that rival but one to note in the market.

4 Maifalki – Lightly raced and improved from his fifth in a bumper at Huntingdon (Good/Firm) in October to win on this third start over C&D three weeks ago. Stayed on well coming off the pace that day and without much pace in this, he could have the race run to suit. Should continue to progress and interesting making his handicap debut today.

5 Steady Major – Now with Mark Brisbourne after being previously trained by Gordon Elliot and didn’t cut much ice over hurdles. Landed back to back wins when in the care of David Simcock in a Southwell maiden and a claimer at Lingfield last year up to 1m2f. Looks held by a few of these now sent into handicaps again and makes his Tapeta debut today after a break of 100 days.

6 Beautiful Stranger – Won over a slightly shorter trip at this course twenty days ago, staying on well to score by 1 ¼ lengths. That was much improved form after some moderate AW and turf runs but he didn’t beat much that day and looks up against back in a handicap against some stronger rivals and has his quirks.

7 Cadeau Magnifique – Well backed and only runner up over a slightly shorter trip on this track ten days ago, his third in that position on his last three Tapeta starts. Modest strike rate with only one career win at Nottingham last year. An honest sort he should run his race again from the same mark as his last run but has a habit of finding one too good and not sure as to his resolve if it comes to a battle. Solid place claims with cheekpieces back on.

8 Melabi – Joined this yard after being trained by William Haggas, for whom he scored his sole career win at Doncaster on his second start last year and ended his spell there with a good second at Brighton in August. Hasn’t shown much in two runs for this yard including when down the field on his last start at Newcastle last month. Only 4lb lower than for his last good run and looks held against some of these.

9 The Third Man – Frustrating sort who has won over C&D before, his second of two AW wins. Recent form has been hit-and-miss and 2lb lower today than his win here. Didn’t get the run of the race last time in fourth over C&D and will need a good pace here to get involved. One to watch in the betting.

10 General Hazard – Lightly raced sort who returned from a six-month break to score in comfortable fashion over C&D twenty days ago. Did well to follow up over 1m2f at Lingfield five days later, and only just caught when attempting a quick hat-trick when caught late on in a 1m4f event at the same track. Dropped back to 1m1f for this he should go well dropped 2lb for that last run, whilst his yard remains in good form. Big player.

11 Kafeel – Only modest flat form when trained by Roger Varian, with two wins including one on the AW three years ago. Returned this Autumn after sixteen months off and hasn’t shown his best in two starts. Only eleventh of 13 in a better race at Kempton fifteen days ago and looks up against it on Tapeta debut despite the handicapper dropping him a further 5lb.

12 Zephyros – Winner on the turf at Bath (Good) in July and ran fairly well in two subsequent starts without winning. 4lb lower for this but has minimal AW form from his time in Germany and he was well beaten on his final start at Goodwood (Good) in August when fifth of 8. Hard to fancy.

13 Haabis – Only four starts so far for this yard and ran his best race on his second start at Kempton when runner up in a maiden in this division. Only twelfth of 13 on his last start coming back from a seven month break. Looks held on all recent form and visored today for the first time. Easy to overlook for win purposes here.

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