Ten go to post for this competitive handicap in the feature race today at Chelmsford. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Captain Lars was unlucky last time out over 5f and could improve for this step up in trip with John Egan on board. Alkhor should continue to run well but is high enough in the weights now and may struggle to keep his nose in front of PARKOUR today. He wasn’t that far behind the Hannon runner at Lingfield last month and is weighted to turn the tables with that rival today and has a few of these held on current form. He could be the one to side with here in a tricky looking Handicap. Captain Lars can chase them home.
1 Florencio – Previously with William Muir and back-to-back winner last term when a winner by a nose here in a Class 4 and easily accounted for four rivals in a Class 3 at Wolverhampton next time out. Fair runs dropped back down to this grade after contesting a couple o of better races and fifth of 10 at Kempton on last start over 7f. Wears cheek-pieces today on first start for Marco Botti and Adam Kirby up. Best watched for now. Yard also run Parkour.
2 Plucky Dip – Thirteen runs since last win at Catterick (Good) in May and close up in third in a tight finish to a Class 4 on last run here over this trip two starts ago. Not so good over further at Newcastle last time out and plenty to find on best form with a few of these. Wears cheek-pieces again today.
3 Free Zone – Fair strike rate this year for Jamie Osbourne with three wins including here on debut for Lee Carter last month in a Class 6. Good second upped in grade to a Class 4 last month, not beaten far behind Memories Galore and looks competitive on best form but up against some tough rivals here and he will need to be to get involved.
4 Alkhor – Only five runs for Richard Hannon and has already won twice, at Windsor on his second start last year and last time out at Lingfield over this trip, when getting up by a shoulder from Salvatore Fury. Had Parkour (5th) and Shypen (10th) behind that day and should be involved but could be taken on for the lead here and needs another career-best to land back-to-back victories.
5 Shypen – Good wins to runs ratio this year with 3 wins from 12 runs. Back-to-back winner in the Autumn on turf at Yarmouth (Good) in a Class 5 handicap and then the AW at Wolverhampton dropped in trip. Not beaten that far despite finishing position and ran a career-best in a Class 3 at Lingfield last time out when runner-up. Solid chance on form but will probably need another career-best to win this. Yard also run El Viento.
6 Parkour – Back-to-back winner at Wolverhampton over the extended 5f last Autumn and fair runs since. Not beaten far by Alkhor at Lingfield two starts ago and good second upped to a Class 4 on latest start here with a few of these behind. Luke Morris on-board and if ridden prominently can certainly get closer to that rival here with 2lb in hand. Yard also run Florencio. Interesting.
7 Bertie Blu Boy – Hat-trick of wins last Summer but has had patchy form in ten runs since with four runner-up finishes but equally as many down the field in up to Class 3 events. Wears a visor and looks up against it on current form.
8 Picture Dealer – Has won over this C&D before last year but poor in 3 runs here over this trip since. Had been running poorly in Class 3 events but dropped in grade latest he finished well down the field behind a few of these with Parkour in second. Probably a bit unlucky that day and wears a tongue strap here. Bit to find with the selection.
9 El Viento – Running off a dangerous mark now since his last win at Lingfield last November and didn’t run too badly behind Parkour in second thirteen days ago. Has a bit to find with that rival but one to note in the betting. Yard also run Shypen.
10 Captain Lars – Back-to-back winner of Class 6 events at the turn of the year over 1m on the AW at Lingfield and Southwell and has been running to a fairly consistent level in Class 5 events recently. Second on last start over 5f here a week ago and should appreciate the extra furlong. Jockey booking a plus and could steal a march. Not without a chance.