The Good to Firm going seems to have decimated the field leaving just the five runners to choose from for the decent enough £8715 first prize. Tactics will be interesting over the minimum trip of five furlongs, so why not read our race preview and follow our tip below.
IN SUMMARY: JUDICIAL has been in imperious form of late and seems to be getting better with age. He can land the hat trick here for trainer Julie Camacho at the expense of the well-weighted Thesme who would be a serious danger if recapturing her better form.
1 DOC SPORTELLO – Two of his three wins have been on the all-weather at Newcastle with the other on heavy ground at Tipperary in April last year. He has been beaten twelve lengths in both of his last two starts at Wolverhampton and Lingfield never five and then six furlongs, but those were in Class Two events and he is dropped in class tonight. He likes to be held up and may struggle to find cover in this small field, and with his trainer having a quiet spell (no winners from just the one runner in the last two weeks), others appeal more.
2 JUDICIAL – Julie Camacho’s Iffraaj gelding is the in-form option after two wins in a row at Pontefract and Chester over this trip, the first on very similar gong when seeing off Edward Lewis by a length and a half. Last time out he did even better when beating Double Up by four lengths, and he looks the one they all have to beat at these weights tonight. After his last win owners representative Dan Downie said “Judicial is more relaxed now and he is getting better with age”, and if that is the case he may well land his hat-trick.
3 HOOF IT – One of the most popular sprinters in training for Michael Easterby and a veteran now at the age of ten. Amazingly he has never raced here and has only raced the once over this five furlongs even after fifty-three starts and at his age it seems unlikely he will have the speed to beat some of these on his first run in over eight months. At his best he is certainly well handicapped having won off eleven pounds higher but expecting him to repeat that now is sadly unlikely and win number twelve may have to wait a little longer.
4 SOLE D’LEAU – First time cheekpieces are in place to try and focus the attentions of the son of Monsieur Bond who has won in higher class in handicap company. Four runs so far this season have seen nothing better than a two and a half length fifth to Copper Knight at York in late May, but he has won six of his thirty-one starts and won close to £90,000 for connections. The Kristin Stubbs yard are without a recent winner from four runners in the last fourteen days which is a concern, but if the headgear reaps rewards he could well be a serious challenger.
5 THESME – The Nigel Tinkler stable have had one win from thirteen runners in the last two weeks for an 8% strike rate but the five-year-old has the best chance of success at these weights according to the official ratings. Her form last year includes a second to Kingsgate Native at Nottingham and a very good fifth to Mecca’s Angel in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York and a repeat of either of those runs would be enough to win this. She hasn’t repeated either of those runs so far this season with a seventeen and a half length fourteenth of fifteen to Marsha in the Group Three Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and a last of twelve (beaten ten and three quarter lengths) to Priceless in the Temple Stakes at Haydock, and although this is clearly a lot easier, she needs to do better than that if she wants to win her fourth race on her eighteenth start this evening.