A competitive looking eleven runner handicap is in prospect for the penultimate race of the day at Wolverhampton, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Byron Flyer bolted in off a 7lb lower mark when returned to the level eleven days ago and is likely capable of better yet, but he encounters some tougher competition today and ISHARAH gets the verdict. Mark Johnston’s four year old has been on brilliant form on the all weather this winter with form figures of 322111 and a 5lb rise for his latest win at Southwell shouldn’t be enough to stop him from bringing up the four timer now back up in trip. He can see of the attentions of Oceane who would be dangerous to discount if handling the surface on all weather debut.
1 GANG WARFARE – Has good claims on the best of his form including wins at his level in 2016, winning here over the 1m 6f trip back in March off a mark that was only 1lb lower than today’s. He’ll find this much easier than the two previous tasks he’s been set by Jamie Osbourne since joining the yard and looks one of the likely types with Timmy Murphy taking the ride. He’ll stay this trip strongly and if at his best he’d have to have a brilliant chance of winning this.
2 OCEANE – Progressive last season for Alan King, winning a good quality handicap at York in August off a 5lb lower mark than today’s and makes his all weather debut on his first appearance this season. May have more to offer now back in easier company but he does need to prove he’s suited by this surface which does race a question mark. Nonetheless Alan King’s yard is in good form at present and he has the services of Martin Harley so is likely to run a big race.
3 GALVAR – Can’t be discounted on the best of his all weather form which includes some creditable efforts at this level, but hasn’t been at his best on two runs this season. Brushed aside on his latest run at Lingfield (1m 4f, Std) after tailing off early which has to be a concern. Goes back up in trip which should suit but hard to give him realistic claims on his current form and a mark that is still above his last winning one. Best to look elsewhere.
4 HAINES – Performs well on this surface including a C&D second back in February 2016, albeit off a 10lb lower mark than today’s. Has been running well without winning this season, finishing fourth at Chelmsford on his latest start when unable to get involved which would suggest the step back up in trip should suit. A mark of 90 shouldn’t be beyond him as long as he improves with conditions to suit and can’t be fully discounted with Rob Hornby claiming 3lb. Place contender.
5 CASTILO DEL DIABLO – Hasn’t been firing this winter, struggling to beat a rival on both runs thus far and connections are relying on going back up in trip to help save his season. On previous evidence he stays this trip fine and finished fourth and not beaten far by Haines at Kempton back in April over the two mile trip, and is now 6lb below that mark. Obviously his current form is of grave concern but he cannot be discounted by any stretch and would be dangerous off this mark if back firing today.
6 ISHARAH – Has been thriving this season with form figures of 322111 since switching to the all weather, winning at this distance at Newcastle in January (2m, Std) after staying on much the strongest. Made it three in a row on his latest start when running out a game winner at Southwell (1m 4f, Std) in January and there is likely more to come now back up to this distance. Clearly in good heart and a 5lb rise for that victory shouldn’t be enough to stop him bringing up the four timer for Mark Johnston.
7 ENTIHAA – Has been well held on two runs since a years break including his latest sixth at Lingfield, never involved and only passing beaten rivals (1m 4f, Std). The return to a longer trip should suit for Dai Burchell’s nine year old but he lacks the potential of his rivals and others make far more appeal, and is best watched again today.
8 BYRON FLYER – In good form over hurdles and bolted in at Lingfield eleven days ago with a comfortable win on his second all weather start. That made it two from two on this surface and has been raised 7lb as a result, but he should be capable of better yet on this surface. The inform Luke Morris takes the ride for the Ian Williams team who are going great guns at present but he does step into tougher competition today and with the rise taken into account, this wont be a simple task. Likely to be in the shake-up and has to be respected but he’ll need to have improved if he’s to take this.
9 CALVINIST – Progressive sort for Brian Meehan and signed off for that yard when winning at York in October (1m 6f, Std), beating Master Blueyes which is some good form in hindsight. Changed hands for 85,000gns and now with Archie Watson who has had a winner in recent times, which is positive. Makes his all weather debut with the inform Oisin Murphy taking the ride and looks to be a big threat if fully revved up and has to be respected for Randolph & Mortimer Racing.
10 PERCY VEER – Has placed in his last two starts including over C&D on his latest start, only beaten around a length but now takes a rise in class which is of concern. Connections reach for the blinkers and 5lb claimer Mitch Godwin takes the ride, which does make him interesting but his last win came back in November 2015 off a 5lb lower mark which is certainly not a positive. Others are far more likely for win purposes and is resigned to placing at best today.
11 TREASURE THE RIDGE – Had some decent form in the book last season including a second at Kempton in December 2015 (2m, Std), but returns today with a new yard and goes markedly down in trip. Has a 377 day absence to overcome in a warm race which tempers enthusiasm and he’s entitled to need this run, so is likely best watched today under 5lb claimer Alice Mills.