A new race to look forward to on an evening card at Windsor and although not the biggest prize ever seen at the course, a competitive field will assemble for this 0-85 handicap with the thirteen pounds covering all ten runners from top to bottom. Read on for our tips and Betting preview below.
IN SUMMARY: A tricky race to call with question marks against plenty of these for various reasons, but at the prices the value lies with IBAZZ (Each Way) who is potentially well weighted under the excellent Robert Winston as he makes his debut for in-form trainer Ian Williams. West Drive is the glaringly obvious danger assuming he improves for cheekpieces while Croquembouche looks interesting for a place despite top weight.
1 CROQUEMBOUCHE – Rossa Ryan takes a useful seven pounds off the back of the Ed Giles’ eight-year-old gelding which obviously increase his chances from top weight. Yet to win beyond a mile and a quarter his stamina appeared to give out over even further than this at Chester last time out when beaten seven lengths last month, and despite some solid placed efforts of late this may not be his ideal trip. Potentially more of an issue is his frustrating inconsistency, with heavy defeats on three of his last five starts punctuated by two second places, which is off putting at the odds available despite his yard’s good recent form.
2 IBAZZ – The Ian Williams yard is another in good form recently, and it will be interesting to see how this son of Kyllachy gets on over this trip on the horse’s first run since leaving Archie Watson with a change of scenery expected to bring some improvement. Below par last of ten at Chelmsford over a mile and a quarter when never really sighted last time, he is now six pounds below his opening mark and well handicapped on his French form. He is apparently well regarded at home and the switch back to turf for the first time since running in France in December should see him in better light.
3 FLEETING VISIT – Eight races without a win now but this does represent a drop in class for Eve Johnson Houghton’s gelding who was last seen finishing sixth of seven at Ascot in a higher grade handicap. His strike rate of 1 in 10 is disappointing, with that win coming in a weak maiden at Chepstow in August 2015. He has placed several times since, and while his mark is now five pounds lower than when connections thought a shot at the Old Rowley Cup worthwhile, he is starting to look difficult to win with.
4 RAVENOUS – Three wins from 29 starts under this code, this six-year-old gelding put up a decent enough effort on his return from a seven month lay off 23 days ago at Lingfield. That 7.5 furlong trip was clearly an inadequate test of stamina with his wins so far coming over a mile plus. With that run under his belt he should improve, but he has struggled of this mark so far and others in the field look better handicapped for win purposes.
5 OPPOSITION – Well backed almost as soon as the early odds came out, but he will need to improve on his return from a lengthy layoff. He’s still lightly raced at four years old and was sent off just 10/1 for a Listed two mile race at Ascot when well beaten last season, so is clearly well regarded by connections. However, he has now been a well beaten favourite on both of his last two starts, and is unattractive at the prices available despite powerful connections.
6 WEST DRIVE – The Roger Varian yard is in fine form recently with a 29% strike rate, and his four year old ran well enough on seasonal reappearance just under two weeks ago to suggest he can win more races this year. His only win so far came over course and distance in September, but this is a class higher despite his mark remaining the same. First time cheekpieces could be combined with a return to last season’s front running tactics, but he has proved vulnerable in the final furlong to speedier types.
7 WHITE NILE – Non Runner
8 PRIORS BROOK – Young Joshua Bryan takes off a useful seven pounds for Andrew Balding’s six year old, who’s progression appears to have stalled. Last of seven last time out on the All Weather, he has twice finished second over course and distance, but he has repeatedly struggled to win off marks this high. Vulnerable off this mark again, he should give his running and has Each Way chances, but is poorly priced for the win.
9 JAZZY – Yet to win in five attempts in flat turf races, but he does have two All Weather wins off slightly lower marks and has been placed off two pounds higher in this sphere. Well beaten over hurdles three weeks ago following a short break, this is his first run on the flat since September when he was well beaten over a mile, and the step up in trip should bring about improvement. His runs since then have been average though, and up against it in this company.
10 ESSENAITCH – Well worth a step up in trip this evening following a short head second last time out when running on strongly over a mile and a quarter at this course to be pipped on the line. While he is extremely well handicapped on his early career form (when he was rated 90), his recent form has been no where near that and the combination of a three pound rise in the weights and the step up in class are likely to find him wanting here again today.