There are a couple of unexposed types in this, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Neil Mullholland’s MERIBEL MILLIE has an excellent chance of following up her last success here to make it a double. She exploited a very low mark last time out and she’s only racing off an effective 4lb higher mark here. Tinted Rose will be a tough opponent for a yard that does well here now she’s dropped back down in trip and kept on Soft ground. Market support for Robin Why Not would be significant.
1 BOWIE – Has looked relatively well held this winter having been comfortably beaten at double figure odds on all 7 starts. He races off 110 today which puts him on a career low mark and he receives the aid of a 10lb claimer today which puts him on a very attractive mark. He did show some signs of life when stepped up in trip last time out although it remains to be seen what he can do now down in trip and may be best watched here.
2 MASTER VINTAGE – Struck at the eighth time of asking when winning by 6 lengths at Leicester two runs ago. The handicapper shot him up 8lbs for that run which was his first for nearly two years and he could never land a blow at Sandown next time out. He should do better here off 1lb lower and down in grade although it remains to be seen if the handicapper has already got a hold of him. Market support would be interesting now stepped up in trip for the first time.
3 JAUNTY THOR – Did well off a low mark late last year when completing a double off 97 and 104. He has struggled since and the handicapper looks to have wrestled back control and it would be a small surprise to see him pop up here. He was beaten 31 lengths on his last start and he’s been sent off at a much bigger price on his last twice appearances. The cheekpieces are retained although they didn’t make a positive impact last time. Avoided.
4 MERIBEL MILLIE – Connections run this mare under a penalty following a 6 length victory at Sedgefield last time out. She did well that day and took advantage of a lowly mark and she’s effectively off a mark of 109 today which asks some more questions of her although her rider does claim 3lbs. She won on soft ground so the conditions shouldn’t be an issue and she should have the pace for this step down in trip having won over 2 miles and half a furlong in her bumper. Strongly respected here.
5 TINTED ROSE – Didn’t look suited to the 2m 5f trip last time out but there was money about for her and a better showing had been expected. She drops back in trip which should be right up her street for a trainer with a 23% strike rate here and she gets the assistance of the very capable Graham Watters in this. She remains on the same mark but this 5 year old can progress again now back onto soft ground and she’s dangerous here.
6 ALIZEE JAVILEX – Relatively unexposed sort now onto his tenth career start at the age of 7. He couldn’t get going on Heavy ground last time out and he’ll appreciate the return to better conditions here although the handicapper hasn’t leant him any assistance. He was only beaten 3 lengths off this mark two starts ago and the booking of Jack Sherwood looks positive in this contest. He’s worth another chance now stepped back up in trip slightly and he could easily pop up in a race like this.
7 ROBIN WHY NOT – Handicap debut today following three runs in novice hurdles at Taunton and Exeter. He was well beaten in all of those starts but he’ll do much better now entered into handicaps although it’s tricky to know how well treated he is off 102. If there’s strong money he has to be feared although it’s a bit of a guessing game with this one and he may be best watched today. Trainer has an excellent 32% strike rate here (8 wins from 25 runners).
8 ROCKY TWO – Has an extremely poor career record of 1 win from 45 starts and he’s without a win in 17 attempts over hurdles to date. He’s slipped down the weights as a result and races off a very low mark of 90 in this which shouldn’t be beyond him given he was only beaten 3/4 of a length off the same weight three runs ago. There is a slight question mark regarding the ground given the best of his form has come on slightly better going but his trainer has been in good recent form (20% strike rate) and he’s no forlorn hope.