Only a small field for this handicap chase over a shade under two miles and six furlongs. It’s a decent field despite the lack of numbers, our runner by runner preview and expert tip are below.
IN SUMMARY: FOREVER MY FRIEND will be well suited by the way this race is run with a pair of front runners who are going to go hard in front. Orbasa is well capable of winning from 127 if he can find his form. He has not achieved what he has promised to yet but he is still only six years old and it may be that it will click with him sooner or later and he will climb the grades. Any drying of the ground will help Bon Chic who ran well here earlier in the season, she represents a yard who are always well worth respecting at this track.
1 FOREVER MY FRIEND – Winner of this race in 2015, he got his head in front again at Stratford in June from three pounds lower. He has won on soft ground at Ffos Las so the good to soft ground here shouldn’t be too much of a issue for him. The race should be run to suit and with the Peter Bowen yard ticking over well at present and with a 29% strike rate with runners here in the last five years, he can add another win to his tally.
2 ORBASA – A bit of a disappointment so far in his career, he has often looked like he has the potential to be a smart chaser but is yet to really put it together on the track. A length behind Definitly Red at Ayr in April 2016 is form that would blow this field out of the water, yet he struggles to string good efforts together. A mark of 127 underestimates him if he can put it all together in a small field with plenty of pace up front to bring him into play.
3 ALDERBROOK LAD – A standing dish at the track, there would be no more popular winner that if he landed another course success. He got loose in April and ended up in an accident with a 4X4, lucky to be alive, he has shown no ill effects in three very smart runs here this season. As always he will run his heart out but with Brave Spartacus in opposition, he won’t get things all his own way on the front end which has to be a concern.
4 BRAVE SPARTACUS – Like Alderbrook Lad, he is a bold front runner, runner up a couple of times this season already. Brian Hughes is an interesting jockey booking, after Emma Todd has taken the mount for the majority of the year. Hughes will have his work cut out not to compromise his own chances by going too quick in front but in any case, the horse has enough to find at this level.
5 MUNSAAB – Another regular at the track, he has recorded two of his three wins in this country here. Both of them came over a longer trip, but with a pair of front runners, this is going to require a bit of getting so he is well equipped to cope with the stamina task. He has plenty of form on soft ground so underfoot conditions won’t be an issue but all his wins have been at a lower level and he may just find himself tapped for toe.
6 BON CHIC – Just a single solid run in six starts since she left Dan Skelton, coming here when behind Alderbrook Lad. Five pounds better off for a two and a quarter length beating, she should be able to turn that around here if she can run to that same level once more. Soft ground is no issue and she has held her own from higher perches than this in the past. The Jimmy Moffatt yard are always ones to watch at the track and she looks like playing a big role.
7 SWANTYKAY – Not the easiest to win with when trained in Ireland, he won just one of his sixteen starts over fences but was runner up on five occasions. The best of his form has all been on better ground than he is likely to face here so what looks like an already stiff task at the weights makes him the easiest to discount in the line-up.