IN SUMMARY: With a mile and a half this time out GAWDAWPALIN can get to the front for trainer Sylvester Kirk after a highly promising third over an inadequate trip on his return to action. Shraaoh is the obvious option for those who like the forecast and can follow him home in second while Whinging Willie has solid each way chance at a bigger price.
Too many runners to bore you with a write up for each and every one but a list of the major challengers is always worth the effort, and in this case that means six of the very best who look to have the likeliest chances of getting near to the lead where it really counts. As soon as the market was formed punts rushed to get their money on to Shraaoh (7/2) who is trained in Newmarket and will be ridden by Oaks winning jockey Frankie Dettori. A four-year-old son of Derby winner Sea The Stars he had a rewarding season in 2016 with a maiden win and two places from the six starts but has always looked to be a late maturing sort who will be better this season and possibly next as well. He was only beaten a short head by Dai Harraild over this trip at Goodwood in July when just failing to catch the winner and didn’t see out the mile and three quarters on his final start at York when plugging on at one pace but with another winter on his back and the return to this trip he ought to be a major player. With the Stoute yard in great form thanks to nine winners from their last twenty-nine runners for a 31% success rate he seems sure to go well and deserves his place in any race preview worth reading for this race.
Interestingly, Ralph Beckett boasts exactly the same statistics as Sir Michael but in top weight Carntop (18/1) he has a runner at a much bigger price. The four-year-old Dansili gelding wears a first time hood this afternoon after a couple of very poor efforts since being gelded in July last year, beaten fifty-one lengths and twenty six lengths in the two contests, finishing lame in the first of them at Newmarket. Clearly a lot better than that to run off a rating of 100 he does have a lot to prove for the moment but if the headgear brings dramatic improvement, he could yet surprise them all with Pat Dobbs booked to ride.
Looking at the betting again and Gawdawpalin (4/1) is another who has caught the punters’ attention and it will be interesting to see how he gets on for the Sylvester Kirk stable who are trundling along with an acceptable if not inspiring 10% strike rate of late. Last time out the colt was a running on third over ten furlongs at Epsom catching Great Hall for the final placing and if the same handicap rating this afternoon and with an extra quarter mile to travel it is punters have cottoned on to his chances. Five places in his last eight races show ability but he is becoming a bit frustrating and all the value may well have already disappeared.
With the George Baker stable going through a quiet patch (no winners and just the three runners in the last two weeks), it is hard to judge the chances of Barwick (9/1) but the horse won’t know that and did run well on his return after six months and a day off the track with a third to Galapiat at Epsom over this trip, though he was beaten close to six lengths at the line. A win over two miles over hurdles at Worcester in August last year stamina is not an issue and he has also won over this trip at Newbury, Brighton, and Epsom (twice), though he will need a career best to win off this rating which seems unlikely at the age of nine.
Looking for bigger prices and the name of Whinging Willie (12/1) is hard to beat while the horse arrives in good sorts after a second to Galapiat at Epsom last time out, a length and three quarters in front of Barwick. Three pounds worse off with the rival it ought to be a lot closer between the two of them and it may well come down to who improves the most for their first runs of the season, and at the bigger price he seems to have the same chance as his rival today.
One last horse for the preview and the market suggests Spinners Ball (14/1) is the Sylvester Kirk second string but after a win last time out at Windsor he could yet surprise them all. He has been put up six pounds which seems petty harsh for a short head success and may well have even more improvement to come after just the two runs since being gelded and at a bigger price could at least be considered as an each way alternative.