IN SUMMARY: Orion’s Bow looked in superb form when readily completing a 6f hat-trick at Thirsk ten days ago and we know he’s also suited by Tapeta. He’s 3lb ahead of the handicapper under a penalty here and could be tough to beat if coping with the drop in trip. However, with a handful of front-runners in the line-up, this race could be set up perfectly for STEELRIVER (14/1 Each Way). David Barron’s 6yo doesn’t have in impressive strike-rate and will probably need some luck, but he acts on this surface and is fancied to make rapid late headway to grab a place at least. Patrick is also expected to be favoured by today’s combination of surface and pace, and is next on the list. Others to consider are Judicial, Encore D’Or and Memories Galore.
1 Red Baron – Front-runner who finished down the field after setting a strong pace in the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh a fortnight ago; ran well when second at Thirsk (5f, good to firm) two starts ago and is also effective on Tapeta but current mark leaves him with very little margin for error.
2 Bosham – Has made excellent progress on the AW since fitted with blinkers last summer, winning seven times along the way; can be excused his latest defeat on AW Championship Day at Lingfield in March but competes off new career-high mark after three-month break, so needs to improve again.
3 Judicial – Probably lost his chance at the start in a hot race at Musselburgh on latest outing but is still fairly lightly raced and his convincing win at Thirsk (5f, good to firm) two starts ago suggests he might still be on the upgrade; effective on Tapeta and can make his presence felt.
4 Bowson Fred – Three wins this spring, the first on Tapeta and the latest on Polytrack at Chelmsford this month; also ran well when second at Chelmsford nine days ago and might still be improving but has been nudged up another 1lb for that and faces fierce competition for the early lead.
5 Encore D’Or – Scored on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on seasonal/stable debut and followed up on Polytrack at Lingfield a fortnight later; only third off today’s mark at Chelmsford nine days ago but first-time cheekpieces might squeeze out something extra; needs to be taken seriously.
6 Meadway – Triple Fibresand winner who comes here after making all in the consolation race for the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh (5f, good) two weeks ago; subsequent 6lb rise probably enough to leave him vulnerable in race packed with other front-runners; untested on Tapeta.
7 Steelriver – 0-4 for David Barron this year but went close on Tapeta at Wolverhampton (6f) two starts ago; races only occasionally over 5f but the likely strong pace over this trip today will suit this hold-up performer well; will need gaps to appear at the right time but expect him to appear late on the scene.
8 Fast Track – Runner-up over 5f on first two starts this year (Tapeta/Polytrack) and competes off a slightly lower mark today; will be suited by a fast pace but needs to get back on track after two down-the-field turf runs; hooded for first time today.
9 Patrick – Never dangerous at York on latest outing just over a month ago but was placed in a valuable 6f event on Tapeta at Wolverhampton in March; current mark demands a new career-best performance but he’s another that will be suited by a strong pace at today’s trip.
10 El Viento – Probably wasn’t suited by the soft turf when eighth on seasonal debut 12 days ago and is entitled to have benefited from that outing; won on Polytrack at Lingfield in November but his two Tapeta runs in December were disappointing and this 8yo might be vulnerable to younger legs.
11 Orion’s Bow – Made slow start to the season but has struck form and competed a 6f handicap in excellent style in recent weeks, the first success gained on Tapeta here and the last two on turf; shooting up the weights as a consequence and today’s race represents a significant rise in class, but he’s 3lb ahead of the handicapper under his 6lb penalty; good chance if suited by today’s drop in trip (yet to race over 5f).
12 Soie D’Leau – Steadily progressive 4yo who won three times on turf last season; runner-up on softish ground on first two starts this season (6f/5f) and didn’t run badly when sixth of nine at Ayr on latest outing but needs to find something extra to overcome today’s rise in class on AW debut.
13 Bogart – Outran 33/1 odds when second in valuable event at York (5f, good) two starts ago and remains on a workable mark but has become regressive/inconsistent, and was out of sorts when well beaten (albeit on soft ground) at Doncaster recently; makes AW debut today.
14 Memories Galore – Still quite lightly raced and made pleasing seasonal debut when second at Kempton (6f, AW) last month; upped in class for first ever run over 5f but has some scope to improve his season and could have a say if the drop in trip suits.
myracing Forecast Prices: 4/1 Orion’s Bow, 5/1 Encore D’Or, 6/1 Bowson Fred, 8/1 Patrick, 10/1 Bogart, 12/1 Meadway, Steelriver, Fast Track, 14/1 Judicial, Memories Galore, 16/1 Red Baron, Bosham, 20/1 Soie D’Leau, 33/1 El Viento