This is a Class 4 handicap over 1 mile 4 furlongs, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: This is an open handicap and a chance is taken on OPPOSITION for the Ed Dunlop stable. He does have to overcome some time off the track but he’s a lightly raced sort who can resume his upward curve this evening with Silvestre do Sousa booked. Captain Peacock will be aided by this longer distance having flown home last time out whilst Excellent Puck may be one at a bigger price given he looks well-handicapped on old form.
1 CAPTAIN PEACOCK – Arrives here on the back of two successes in handicap company since making his seasonal return last month. He’s won by small margins (3/4 of a length and a head) but the handicapper hasn’t been kind to him and he’s up another 4lbs in the weights today. However, he’s clearly progressive and this longer trip is sure to bring out even more improvement in him today so he’s fancied to put in a bold bid for the hat-trick here.
2 OPPOSITION – Completed a double in handicaps early last year before going off the boil slightly having been tried in a Listed contest. He returns to action off a long lay-off today but he’s got a few questions to answer but a mark of 83 should be workable having won a stronger handicap than this off just 4lbs lower. Silvestre de Sousa has ridden him once before, winning at this course and he takes the ride again tonight. The betting market could provide some clues.
3 CAPE DISCOVERY – Won a couple of handicaps for Richard Hughes early last year and he’s struggled slightly since in similar company to today’s. He should strip fitter for his seasonal reappearance having looked tired in the finish and a 24-day break will have allowed him to be freshened up and he should do better here. He is only a pound higher than his last win in handicap company so he has a fair claim in this and the market should be informative once again.
4 AGAINST THE ODDS – Returns to his last winning mark today following some comfortable defeats in stronger handicaps than this on his last two starts. He was in contention for a long way at Kempton last month before fading late on and he will be better suited to this 1m 4f trip rather than the 2 miles he faced last time out. A tongue tie is applied for the first time today and Adam Kirby is on board for the first time so there is every chance he can improve again to win this.
5 ZAMPERINI – 3lbs lower than his last winning mark having won a Class 3 handicap over 1m 2f at Sandown last July. He was kept racing over the winter and it was disappointing that he couldn’t strike in weaker races than this on the All-Weather at Lingfield and Chelmsford. He is tricky to fancy here on the back of his most recent form and the visor is reapplied today having only worn it once which resulted in a second place finish in September 2015.
6 LANCEUR – Transferred to William Stone’s yard earlier this year following a long lay-off and he’s been comfortably held on three occasions this year. The latest of those came over today’s trip at Kempton in a fairly similar handicap and he stayed on past tiring horses that day to finish a never nearer fifth of seven. He’s fallen 11lbs in the handicap in just three runs and should be falling to a workable mark although he’s clearly had some problems. Best watched here.
7 HERMANN – Richard Hannon has a 14% strike rate in the past fortnight and he fields an interesting colt here. He’s lightly-raced with only 5 career starts to his name and he races off what looks to be a fair mark following a 3 1/4 length defeat at Windsor earlier this month. That was his first run for a while and he will certainly improve for that run, not least because he’s still unexposed. There was good support for him that day and there may be again so he has to be respected in this.
8 BERTIE MOON – Completed a double over varying trips last summer but he’s gone badly backwards since. He’s been beaten 13 1/2 and 30 lengths on his last two starts and he arrives here just 4lbs lower which doesn’t inspire any confidence. His best form has come over further and there are few signs to suggest a return to form is imminent. Best watched today for a yard that are without a winner from 10 runners here.
9 ALCATRAZ – One win from 19 starts does little to inspire enthusiasm and George Baker’s runner is yet to score in handicap company. He was sent off 4/7 in a handicap in Jersey last month and finished second having not been able to repel the winner in the closing stages. He’s fairly treated at the weights off a mark of 78 and he has placed form off just a pound lower but those efforts came in weaker company than this and he’s worth taking on again here.
10 GO GEORGE GO – Landed an impressive four-timer over the winter which saw him shoot up the weights from a mark of 48 to 71. He’s placed on his last three starts and clearly isn’t done improving and the handicapper has raised him another 2lbs which will make life slightly tougher again. This is a harder race than anything he’s faced to date and this will require a career best but he’s worthy of his chance for a yard that are getting more and more out of him. Respected.
11 DUKE OF DIAMONDS – No chance with a runaway winner at Leicester last month and he finished ahead of Zamperini that day. The handicapper has nudged him back down the weights but he still remains 9lbs higher than his last winning mark which came in a weaker grade than this. He should do better with that recent run behind him but this looks tougher and his trainer is without a winner from 22 runners here.
12 EXCELLENT PUCK – C&D winner which came back in May 2015 off a mark of 77. His last victory was recorded in October 2015 off a 3lb higher mark and he’s been comfortably held on all his subsequent starts in company relatively similar to today’s. He’s back down another 2lbs in the weights which leaves him on his lowest mark since July 2014 and a bounce back to form isn’t completely out of the question. Worth close market attention.