An intriguing handicap awaits but with the eight runners declared, each way punters will be hoping there are no late withdrawals to be paid for the first three home. With just the twelve pounds covering all the horses here it should be close, so why not read on for our full race preview of the 7.00pm at Epsom tonight.
IN SUMMARY: Archer’s Arrow (Non Runner) ran too badly to be true last time and is clearly a good deal better than that. he can bounce back this evening here for the on fire Saeed Bin Suroor stable and off bottom eight may well have proved far too strong for all of these. However, SARANGOO is now chosen to get the job done for the in form Saunders yard.
1 CARNIVAL KING – Top weight for Amy Murphy’s five-year-old but he is dropping down the ratings so far this season after a couple of below par efforts. Last time out he finished ninth of ten at Newmarket in a slightly better race but was over ten lengths off the pace and even though he has been dropped another pound for that his stable are out of sorts and others appeal an awful lot more at these weights.
2 HONIARA – Two seconds and a win in his last three races have to make Paul Cole’s charge a player here even though he has been put up a couple of pounds for a three-quarter length second over a mile at Sandown last time out. He only narrowly failed to get home over the trip that day but ought to be even better suited by the return to this seven furlongs and won’t be far away at the finish again if able to repeat that effort.
3 HANDYTALK – His two wins from seventeen starts have been over five and five and a half furlongs at Windsor and Bath (last time out), but the son of Lilbourne Lad has placed over a mile at Lingfield so the trip shouldn’t really be an issue. Up five pounds for his recent win he won’t find this as easy stepped up in trip but won’t disgrace himself either for the Rod Millman stable who are doing very well for a small yard with three winners from their last twenty runners for a 15% strike rate.
4 HUMAN NATURE – Milly Naseb seemed to get on very well with the four-year-old Kodiac gelding last time out when the pair of them scored by half a length at Kempton over this trip on the all-weather. They made all that day to hold off all challengers with a bit left up their sleeve and will no doubt make a bold bid to repeat that effort off exactly the same rating and seem sure to go well again this evening with the predicted Good going looking ideal.
5 FRANK BRIDGE – One of only two course and distance winners in the field after scoring here in July last year, Eve Johnson Houghton’s four-year-old son of Avonbridge certainly deserves some serious consideration. Four races this season have seen a win at Leicester in May and a good second to Lord Reason here over eight and a half furlongs last time out, only beaten a short head, and with his obvious liking for this unusual track he ought to be a major player here even with a three-pound rise in the weights.
6 SALEH – Trainer Lee Carter is in the middle of a quiet patch with just the three runners in the last two weeks and zero winners. The four-year-old will have the benefit of Paddy Bradley’s five-pound claim as well, but will need it after a seventh of nine at Kempton over this trip last time out. That run wasn’t as bad as it looks at first glance and he was only beaten a length and three quarters after looking a little one pace and off the same rating he won’t be far away now either, though a win does look beyond him.
7 SARANGOO – The second course and distance winner in this field after scoring by a couple of lengths here last September after which he was put up five pounds which has seen him fail to score in five races since. Last time out he was only beaten a length and a quarter in to fourth at Kempton over this trip when keeping on at the one pace and a repeat of that could well see him challenging for the places. The Malcolm Saunders yard are in good heart with three winners from twelve runners in the last two weeks for 25% strike rate while jockey Georgia Cox is also riding the crest of a wave with three wins from her last eleven starts (27%) so between them they must have every chance.
8 ARCHER’S ARROW – With Saeed Bin Suroor in great form with seven winners from his last eighteen runners and a 39% strike rate, Godolphin will be looking for a big run from the bottom weight who will be looking for his first win on the turf. He started off the year on a winning note at Kempton over the mile and followed that with a good second to Aventinus at Lingfield when beaten two and a half lengths but was too bad to be true last time out back at Kempton when a nineteen-length last of twelve and should be able to put that run behind him to have an excellent chance today.