This is an open handicap over 7 furlongs, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Oisin Murphy doesn’t come up here for many rides so it’s significant he rides ESPRESSO FREDDO in this. He made a good debut for this yard earlier this month and he’s very well-treated under today’s conditions so he gets a tentative vote to continue his good form. Testa Rossa should give another good account of himself whilst Foolaad has some questions to answer regarding today’s trip.
1 ABUSHAMAH – Latest victory came in June of last year over a mile and he looks to have been in the grip of the handicapper since with respectable but not threatening runs. He returns to action today off a 181-day break and this is his first run on the All-Weather so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the experience. He carries a heavy 10st 3lbs and others make more appeal.
2 TESTA ROSSA – Has been in good heart this season and has recorded four victories over a mile at Newcastle since October. He’s paid the price for that excellent vein of form and is now 3lbs higher than his latest victory here. It’s interesting he’s dropped back to 7 furlongs having shown the best of his ability at a mile and others make more appeal although he still deserves respect in the right grade.
3 SLEMY – Second runner in this for Ruth Carr and he also returns to action off a seasonal break having found life tougher off a mark in the high 70’s last season. He’s left on the same mark as when beaten 9 1/4 lengths at Carlisle in October over 7 furlongs although the ground may have been slightly on the softer side for him that day. Should do well for this stable again this year but probably one for back on the turf later this year.
4 AMOOD – Was victorious last time out where he was seen getting the better of his rivals off a mark of 74. He’s been raised 2lbs for that effort which puts him in a higher grade of race today but he has been rated higher than this in the past and he should appreciate today’s 7 furlongs better than the 6 furlongs he faced for the most part of last year. Worth a market check with winning rider Jason Hart booked again.
5 SHAMAHEART – 10 runs on the All-Weather without victory and he’s only placed on one occasion. It’s a surprise therefore to see him back here having been comfortably held on his last four starts at this track. He has been dropped another 2lbs for finishing seventh of eight over C&D on his last start and connections may have an eye on an early season turf handicap. Best watched today for a trainer without a win from 13 runners here.
6 AVENUE OF STARS – 2 wins from 13 starts but he became woefully out of form towards the end of last season with a string of duck eggs now besides his name. The handicapper hasn’t been too relenting for those efforts and he still remains 2lbs higher than his last winning mark which came over shorter than this back in April. Both of his victories have come over 6 furlongs and that’s enough to be put off him again today although his trainer does have an 11% strike rate here.
7 TRINITY STAR – Last victory came in October 2015 and he’s been out of form since in a similar grade to this over a mile. He’s dropped back in trip today off a mark of 71 but that still looks on the high side following what he has achieved this year and last for a trainer that has sent out a recent winner. Hasn’t placed in two attempts on the sand and it’s difficult to envisage a reversal of that trend today.
8 FOOLAAD – By Exceed And Excel so this is as probably as far as he wants to go having been disappointing over a mile on several attempts. He’s won over 5 and 6 furlongs so there is still a light question mark as to this trip but he’s clearly thriving having won last time out by a decent margin and he’s raised 6lbs in this which will definitely make life tougher now up in grade. Trainer has an excellent 33% strike rate here (2 winners from 6 runners) and one to take seriously.
9 ATHOLLBLAIR BOY – Finished 1/2 length behind Amood when the pair last met over C&D last October. He’s another returning from a decent break today and a mark of 70 should be workable having placed off it in the past. 7 furlongs looks to be his trip and he should give a good account with Lewis Edmunds booked to ride again. However, he will have to be race fit on the first time of asking today and does only have one victory to his name in 15 races.
10 TADAAWOL – Lightly-raced 4yo whose only victory came in a Class 5 maiden back in November of last year. He’s struggled off marks in the low 70’s although there were signs of life last time out when only beaten 1 1/4 over C&D in a similar contest to this. The handicapper leaves him on the same mark and he should be seen to good effect again here. Trainer does only have a 7% strike rate at this track but one that must enter calculations having once been trained by Richard Hannon.
11 ESPRESSO FREDDO – Recently transferred yards to Robert Stephens from Sir Mark Prescott’s. He completed a double earlier this year including over C&D but given connections have offloaded him since, he may be handicapped out of contention by this point. He was a respectable fifth of eleven in this grade last time out so he’s not without a chance and he does get a big pull in the weights with his weight-for-age allowance. Could be well-treated under today’s conditions.