IN SUMMARY: This is a competitive handicap and the vote goes to FIRMDECISIONS. Dean Ivory’s runner has dropped below his last winning mark and this C&D winner can take all the beating today. Gold Hunter can follow him home in second with a good draw in stall 3.
1 AVENTINUS – Makes his first start following a gelding operation which is a concern but he’s been dropped a generous 2lbs in the handicap. That leaves him on a workable mark and stall 1 is perfect for this C&D winner for an in-form stable.
2 SUMMER ICON – Won a Class 3 handicap at Lingfield at the start of the year but she’s been well-held off higher marks since. She was beaten a length in a weaker race than this last time out and others make more appeal.
3 PHALABORWA – Won off a 7lb lower mark in a Class 5 handicap at Wolverhampton back in July and she’s been well-supported on her two most recent efforts. She doesn’t look particularly well-treated at the weights in this tougher race although more improvement is expected.
4 WELLIESINTHEWATER – C&D winner who produces his best form at the track. A mark of 84 leaves him one pound below his last winning mark which came in a stronger event than this so he deserves respect here. His last effort was disappointing though.
5 GORING – Has been campaigned away from the All-Weather for most of his career, making just his fourth start on the surface today. He was well-held off one pound higher last time out and the visor is left on again today. Stall 14 makes life difficult.
6 HUMAN NATURE – Won a 7f Class 4 handicap at Kempton for this yard but was well-beaten when upped in grade earlier in the year. A mark of 83 looks to have his measure at present and others look slightly better weighted.
7 FIRMDECISIONS – Completed a double over C&D just over a year ago off marks in the low 80’s. He will be a threat here if he can replicate that form and he rates as a danger in this company having dropped down below his last winning mark.
8 CALL OUT LOUD – Completed a hat-trick of wins earlier in the season at Wolverhampton and he’s risen through the weights steadily since. A mark of 81 looked to have his measure over C&D last time out and he will need to improve again to come out on top here.
9 SPIRIT OF BELLE – Goes in search of a hat-trick of wins following victory in a Leicester Seller and a Class 5 handicap at Kempton. A mark of 79 is 7lbs above his last winning mark and this tougher grade may find him out. Stall 11 is far from ideal.
10 DARK MAGIC – Lightly-raced 3yo making his fourth career start today. He won a Newmarket maiden earlier in the summer but was beaten 18 lengths off a mark of 81 on handicap debut in October. This is a much weaker event off 2lbs lower and the market will guide best.
11 GOLD HUNTER – Makes his first start for Adrian Wintle today following a successful spell with Steve Flook. He won a C&D handicap in September by a neck and he’s only 2lbs higher here which gives him a chance. Stall 3 is a decent draw. Respected.
12 JUAN HORSEPOWER – Has placed once over 7f previously but all of his best form has come over shorter which is a concern. A mark of 77 is certainly fair having been beaten a small margin last time out and the useful Hollie Doyle rides today.
13 ROBIN WEATHERS – Won on racecourse debut at Salisbury back in July but he’s not gone on since in handicap company. A 2lb lower mark is harsh from the handicapper for William Haggas’ runner who looks to be struggling off a high mark. Best watched.
14 PLUCKY DIP – Looks to be lingering on a kind mark but he can’t quite put his best foot forward and continues to slip through the weights. He was a well-held third over C&D in a weaker race last time out and can only be watched again.
15 LADY LYDIA – Makes her first start for Hugo Froud today and she needs a dramatic reversal of form having struggled over the summer and autumn. She won a Class 5 handicap earlier in the year by a length but this is stronger and others look to hold better form.