5.50pm Wolverhampton Tips & Betting Preview 31/01/2017

Nine handicappers go to post for the final race of the day at Wolverhampton on Tuesday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: Now 23lb below his last winning mark, it’d be hugely disappointing if ATHLETIC couldn’t capitalise on this incredibly low mark. He’s run much better the last twice and was second behind an improver over C&D last week, and is able to race off the same mark today. Stall 5 isn’t a bad draw and today should finally be the day he can return to the winners enclosure for David Evans. and Andrew Mullen. His likely main danger is Dark Confidant, whose 2-2 for the Richard Fahey yard though he will have to defy a 5lb rise which may be difficult.

1 CLIFF – Form figures of 1221 the past four runs and is clearly in brilliant heart, with today’s jockey Lewis Edmunds giving him a peach of a ride to win at Wolverhampton earlier in the month (7f, Std). Goes up another 5lb which makes things difficult as this is a career high mark, but with the form he is in currently its hard to rule him out. Edmunds claims 5lb but needs another jolt of progress and possibly looking at place claims only today.

2 REBEL LIGHTNING – Very disappointing when ninth over C&D two weeks ago, not following up his earlier third over C&D a few weeks prior. His all weather record now stands at 1-9 with his only win coming in a maiden auction stakes over C&D back in November 2015, and has stall 12 to contend with today. Everything seems against him and he may struggle to land a blow despite having Adam Kirby aboard, and most likely best left alone.

3 SMOKETHATTHUNDERS – Has been soundly beaten in claimers the last twice, finishing fourth of five at Southwell yesterday when allowed a soft lead (1m, Std), which certainly tempers enthusiasm. He now remains winless since December 2014 and although he is now 4lb below that mark, others have far more pressing claims and its hard to envisage him running well today after yesterday’s exertions.

4 BILLYOAKES – In good form at present without winning, finishing a close fourth at Lingfield two weeks ago (6f, Std). Goes up to 7f today which is a concern as this trip seems to stretch him, unable to go with the leaders on his penultimate start at Lingfield over the 7f trip earlier in the month. Has his chance and has to be respected despite being 4lb above his last winning mark, but hard to give him any more than place claims.

5 MASAMAH – Eleven year old who is a former Group 2 winner and wasn’t disgraced at Lingfield two weeks ago, only a neck behind Billyoakes when finishing fifth (6f, Std). That represented a change in form and he’s now very interesting upped in trip as it should suit and conditions are fine today. He hasn’t however won since July 2013 at Ascot which is a big concern and is 1-12 on the all weather, but holds definite place claims if this new trip works wonders.

6 LANGHAM – Ran well on handicap debut in June when third at Kempton (6f, Std) but hasn’t gone on from that, finishing last at Yarmouth a month later (5f, Good to Firm) and easily beaten at Kempton when last seen in August (6f, Std to Slw). Has since left Martyn Meade and has joined Michael Appleby so the market will be crucial on her first run for five months, though she is likely best watched today.

7 DOMINIUM – Conditions are fine today and didn’t run badly over C&D on his penultimate start, only a length behind Cliff and Rebel Lightning. Not so good last time out here at 6f but the trip didn’t suit and he was keeping on all the time, so going back up in trip will definitely suit. Last win came back in September 2015 though which has to be of concern though he’s now 11lb below that mark so is dangerously handicapped. Will need a strong gallop and if getting it it would be no surprise to see him plug on into a place.

8 CAPTAIN BOB – The Robert Cowell yard in good form, as his Joe Fanning but was in no sort of form when last seen with two dismal efforts at Nottingham (6f, Good) and Newbury (7f, Good to Soft). Makes all weather debut at the age of six and drops down in class which may suit, but his overall record of 2-31 isn’t exactly inspiring and his last win came in June 2014. Hard to fancy and likely best watched on his first start since October.

9 PAPOU TONY – Wasn’t necessarily disgraced when fourth at Kempton earlier in the month, finishing tired after taking a keen hold early in the race (1m, Std to Slw). Drop back to seven furlongs doesn’t look ideal based on previous evidence, nor is the switch to the tapeta surface, which tempers enthusiasm somewhat. 0-7 in handicaps and now down to his lowest mark, though he is more than likely to find one too good again today despite a good draw in stall 2.

10 WIN LOSE DRAW – Won by six lengths over C&D back in November and has had excuses on his two runs since, not disgraced when fifth at Newastle two weeks ago (7f, Std). Has a good draw in stall 3 and has new headgear today which makes him very interesting. 11lb above his last winning mark but likely capable of better yet for Michael Appleby and has to be respected with Ben Curtis on board.

11 DARK  CONFIDANT -2-2 since joining Richard Fahey with his latest win coming over C&D back in Novmeber, and has to contend with a 5lb higher mark today. Likely to run well again after a break with Paul Hanagan taking the ride and has to be respected on his hat-trick bid, though with some other potential improvers this penalty could make him vulnerable for win purposes and he may be fighting for just places only.

12 ATHLETIC – Back to form the last twice, running well to finish second over C&D last week when behind an improver (7f, Std) and remains on the same mark today for David Evans. Now 23lb below his last winning mark and he is incredibly well handicapped; he is also able to run off the same mark he has the last twice. Stall 5 isn’t a bad draw and today should finally be the day he can return to the winners enclosure for Evans and Andrew Mullen

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