With £5175 up for grabs for the victorious here we have eight horses ready to go to battle over the specialist distance of seven furlongs, and with a weight range of eleven pounds from top to bottom in this Class Four handicap. Read on for our in-depth race preview ahead of the 4.30pm at Leicester this afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: An open looking handicap initially but the race has now cut up drastically due to the soft ground. Although the horse didn’t get a hugely positive mention below, the Charles Hills inmate looks too big a price to ignore at 11/2 in a five runner event. This is the horses’ first run on soft ground but TRAVELLER is bred to appreciate it and still has low mileage on the clock.
1 VROOM – Needs a career best to win in this grade with his previous wins in either Class Five events or Class Six claimers, and all of them on the all-weather (three at Southwell and one at Kempton). One race on grass from nineteen career starts hardly suggests connections think this is his ideal surface, with a fifteenth of twenty-six to Poet’s Prize at Newmarket in October 2015 telling us very little. He has been left on the same rating of 79 despite a poor six and three-quarter length ninth of eleven at Wolverhampton last time out in a similar race and looks likely to struggle on the grass this afternoon.
2 CHILDESPLAY – Scored last time out by an easy five lengths at odds of 8/1 on soft ground at Newbury in a slightly lesser race but seem sure to put up another bold showing despite being put up by six pounds for his sins. Trained in Kingston Lisle by Heather Amin, the stable are going through a purple patch with three winners from three runners in the last two weeks and a 22 points level stakes profit. Hard to ignore and had been running well in defeat before that win.
3 BAHAMIAN BIRD – Two wins and a second already this season for the Richard Fahey trained daughter of Bahamian Bounty who will be ridden by Paul Hanagan for the first time since October 2015 this afternoon. Last time out she finished a two and three-quarter length third to Cheerfilly over this course and distance off a rating of 78 and running off the same mark today she looks to have a bit to find on ground that may not be as fast as she needs to be seen at her best.
4 NORTH CREEK – Won his third race for Chris Wall at Kempton in mid-June on the all-weather over this trip but has only managed a pair of fourth places at Chelmsford since being put up three pounds by the handicapper. He runs off five pounds lower this afternoon, which in turn is two pounds lower than his latest win so if he can transfer his ability to the turf he has a big chance from a stable with three wins from their last sixteen runners for a pleasing 19% strike rate.
5 ZEFFERINO (non runner) – Started this season with a good win at Lingfield over this trip on good to soft ground in May when beating Luna Bear by a length and a half, and has raced in two handicaps since with a four length sixth to Fire Brigade and a six and three-quarter length ninth to Mojito at Sandown last time out when never really placed to challenge. Both of those were Class Three events so the son of Frankel is dropping in class this afternoon and off a rating three pounds lower than last time out he looks to have an excellent chance of another win this afternoon.
6 TRAVELLER – Charlie Hills has done well with the son of Henrythenavigator with a maiden win at Lingfield on the polytrack in February over this trip and a solid length second to Ocean Air over this course and distance on his handicap debut next time out. Off for close to three months he returned when stepped up to a mile at Newbury last time out when seven and a quarter lengths last of four, weakening inside the final furlong. It may have been the trip that stopped him, or the absence, but either way he could do better here back at seven furlongs, though the likely cut in the ground is an unknown factor.
7 PEACH MELBA – Six races without a win came to an end last time out when Mark Johnston’s colt got off the mark in a seven-furlong handicap at Catterick on soft ground and over this trip to get off the mark at last. Yet to finish out of the first four home, he may simply be a late maturing sort and his new mark of seventy-six may not be enough to stop him following up today with the excellent P J McDonald in the saddle.
8 DEANSGATE – Sits on bottom weight today and gets five pounds or more from all his rivals when you take in to account the three-pound claim of jockey Adam McNamara. His rating of 68 still seems plenty high enough for a horse without a win after eighteen starts, with a two and three-quarter length fourth at Haydock last time out, and with the hood and eyeshields missing for a change here, it looks as if connections are still looking for a way to get him to give his all. Trainer Julie Camacho is ticking over very nicely for a smaller yard with two wins from their last fifteen runners (13%), but the four-year-old son of Dandy Man seems unlikely to add to those statistics.