Seven handicappers go to post for the first race on the all weather at Wolverhampton, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SYMMARY: If given a soft lead Tailor’s Row is likely to be very dangerous but preference is for ALKASHAAF. He has been steadily progressive and was not disgraced in defeat on his latest start at Newcastle and remains on the same mark today. He takes a drop in class and if progressing again he is likely to be hard to beat from Stall 2 with David Probert taking the ride for Archie Watson.
1 VATICAN HILL – Hadn’t shown much promise before two easy wins at Thirsk (7f, Good to Firm) and Lingfield back on the all weather (7f, Std). Up another 8lb for that latest effort and although it makes things much tougher, he should be capable of better yet for the inform Jamie Osbourne team with Lucy Barry whose won on him at Lingfield taking 5lb off. Likely to run well but does need to take another step forward if he’s to feature.
2 BEE CASE – Was sitting down when the stalls opened on her latest start at Lingfield on New Year’s Eve so did well to finish as close as she did in the end. Had shown good form before that and had won a fillies’ maiden stakes at Chelmsford when with Hugo Palmer in August, though has been nowhere near that form since. Still early days for the Simon Dow yard and likely capable of better, so if jumping off on terms this time she’d certainly have place claims.
3 SANS SOUCI BAY – Has improved for the switch into handicaps, winning once at Chelmsford (7f, Std) and wasn’t disgraced when finishing fourth in this class at Lingfield on New Year’s Eve (7f, Std). Dropped slightly in the weights which is a help and Tina Smith takes off 7lb which is another positive. Still unexposed at this stage and is likely to give a good account in perfect conditions, but may just find of these too good.
4 TAILOR’S ROW – Running consistently well the last twice when upped to seven furlongs and remains on the same mark as for his close second on New Years Eve at Lingfield, beating Sans Souci Bay (7f, Std). Likely to hold form with that rival with Stall 2 a good help as he will try to dictate terms with PJ McDonald who is great form at present (5-20 in the past two weeks). Has to be respected and dangerous if given a soft lead.
5 ALKASHAAF – Steadily progressing and improved again on handicap debut when a close third at Newcastle a few weeks ago in a higher class than this (7f, Std). Drops in class and remains on the same mark so is bound to go well if improving again with David Probert taking the ride. Certainly more progressive than most of his opposition and has to be respected with stall 6 not looking like it’ll be any disadvantage to him.
6 ATTEQ – Eight lengths behind Alkashaaf at Newcastle on the latest meeting (7f, Std) though he is surely capable of better after showing promise in three maidens beforehand. Does need to bounce back now down two pounds with Tony Hamilton taking the ride, and it would be no surprise to see him doing so today. Others however do have more pressing claims and hard to give him anything more than place chances.
7 LADOFASH – Poor the last twice, finishing an almost tailed off last at Pontefract when last seen in the summer (1m, Soft), but has been gelded since. Dropping back in trip isn’t certain to suit if judged on his past form and it is hard to trust he’ll be back at peak form today, so rates as a risky proposition. Returns 2lb lower but still makes limited appeal and best watched on his first run for 95 days.