The final of a strong sprint series that has taken place over the summer, this is a deep line-up befitting of the near £47,000 on offer to the winner. Our expert tip and runner by runner preview is below.
IN SUMMARY: SECONDO has a little bit of ground to make up with a couple of these on runs this season, but he was very unlucky on the first occasion not to finish considerably closer and the second was over the wrong trip. He has seen only limited action in the past couple of years, but has joined an excellent yard who can get him back to his best. Upstaging and Stake Acclaim should both be in the mix based on their course form here earlier in the season, the latter especially given his run when third in the Stewards’ Cup last time. Atletico steps back up in trip – he has an unexposed profile and is another to consider in a competitve contest.
1 STAKE ACCLAIM – Enjoying a successful season, romping away with a qualifier for this final in June before landing the Shergar Cup Dash last time out. He was arguably flattered as the only one to stay stands side on his win here, but there was no fluke from polar opposite tactics last time when coming from last. This demands more from him, yet he has progressed all season so there may yet be more to come.
2 UPSTAGING – Won a qualifier in July, he then ran a monster of a race to finish third in the Stewards’ Cup. That was a career best just over a fortnight ago, able to run off the same mark again here. He will get a strong pace to aim at with Ice Age taking them along and, as a winner of five of his last ten starts, it is hard to think that he has stopped improving. Looks a big player.
3 DOUGAN – Has run with credit this season on the grass, but has taken his career record to 0/13 on the surface. More than capable of making his presence felt at this level as he did when only a head behind Saturday’s Great St Wilfred runner-up – Pipers Note – at Doncaster. Has an each way chance, but would like to have seen the David Evans yard in better overall form.
4 SPRING LOADED – Like Dougan, he has done his very best work on the All Weather but was a running on second over shorter at this track last time. His sole turf win came over this course and distance, so clearly has an affinity with the place. He has won at this level multiple times on the sand, however Class 2 has been well above him so far on grass so he needs more to figure.
5 ATLETICO – Very lightly raced for his age, he was a winner over five furlongs at this track earlier in the season. Sent off prohibitively short for a handicap at 8/11 on that occasion, he justified that price with a facile win. He lacked the necessary pace to get involved at Glorious Goodwood – again over five furlongs – running on into fifth at the line. The step back up to this trip should help and he holds sound claims.
6 ICE AGE – Gutsy front runner, he got the win he deserved over this course and distance last time. For a sprint there isn’t much early pace in here so he may get his own way on the sharp end which would be beneficial for him. That was his first win as high as Class 3, however, which leaves him vulnerable, both up in class and in the handicap.
7 TOMILY – Produced a smart run of form on the All Weather earlier in 2017, he has struggled to live up to that since moving back to the turf. He has slipped half a stone in the weights, but has been comfortably turned over in lesser races than this of late. It would be surprising if he were to get his head in front here today.
8 LIGHTNING CHARLIE – Runner-up in one of the early qualifiers back in April, he got his head in front at Ascot two starts back. Soft ground shouldn’t have been an excuse last time as he has performed well on it in the past. That run leaves a few questions about his current well-being, making him difficult to support.
9 GULLIVER – Sole win came in a back end maiden when fitted with a tongue strap and blinkers for the first time. He has been tried in a visor this season, both sets of headgear removed now. He is still unexposed but horribly inconsistent, so he cannot be fancied without knowing what kind of mood he will be in.
10 PARNASSIAN – Won a qualifier at the end of June from 3lbs lower, he has since joined the yard of Amanda Perrett for whom he makes his debut here. He was disappointing down in class last time out which leaves him with more than enough to find with the principals at this level, despite being a lightly raced three-year-old.
11 SECONDO – Formerly smart, he was competitive from higher marks than this in 2014. He was off the grid for a while, running twice in France before returning to the UK for Joseph Tuite. Two runs for his current yard have both been promising, not beaten far on either occasion. Both of those runs came here, badly hampered when looking like he would go close on the first occasion. He is better off with those who re-oppose now and is a big each way player from a level from which he can be competitive.
12 PETTOCHSIDE – Yet to win above Class 4 level, his best form has all come on considerably softer ground than he will face here. He has run well in similarly deep handicaps at Ascot and Goodwood in recent weeks which give him an each way squeak. Nevertheless, from this mark he is hard to suggest as a likely winner.
13 OPEN WIDE – Scored at Bath in July when fitted with this headgear combination for the first time. That was a class below this, but it looks fair form for the grade, winning with slightly more in hand than the official margin suggested. Failed to back up that impression last time out over seven furlongs. Even if that trip is a legitimate excuse, he is still going to need a career best to win this.
14 GORING – Winner over this course and distance last summer, he has struggled to land a blow since winning at Chepstow in June. He never looked like getting involved in the consolation for the Stewards’ Cup last time out – at a similar level again – and he’s easy enough to dismiss.
15 MAJOR PUSEY – Has been on a smart run of placed form of late. He is only 1/13 when his mark has crept into the 80s in the past and has never run at Class 2 level. His best form has come on softer ground as well, so he has more than enough to prove to get anywhere close.
16 ENGLISHMAN – Enjoys this track, twice winning and twice runner-up from six career starts here. He was only beaten half a length by Upstaging in a Class 2 over this course and distance when trying this grade most recently. He has been disappointing since, but a return here could well see him outrun his price.