A field of thirteen go to post for the fifth race of the day at Chelmsford on Thursday evening. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Bridge Of Sighs ran a great race on stable debut for Lee Carter and the introduction of the cheekpieces see him as a key player, with Graceful James another to consider. He took his second course and distance victory on his latest start, trouncing a field of in-form runners and a seven pound rise isn’t harsh enough to stop him from gaining a fourth career success for Jimmy Fox. Preference, however, is for OURMULLION who had valid excuses for his defeat at Newmarket on his latest start and he’ll be much happier back on the all weather. The cheekpieces can help him to resume his progress and he looks set for a big run under Josie Gordon.
1 GRACEFUL JAMES – Dual course and distance winner for Jimmy Fox who posted a career best on his latest start to land a Class 5 handicap in very easy fashion. He drew right away in the closing stages and a seven pound rise looks unlikely to stop him putting up another likeable effort to defy the handicapper. He looks the one to beat on recent form and should be in the mix under Kieran O’Neill.
2 CLASSIC VILLAGER – Finished a good second over course and distance on his penultimate start when having things all his own way out in front, not given that luxury when well beaten on the turf at Windsor back in July. He’s now three pounds under his last winning mark and he’s more than capable at this level, but he has the widest draw to contend with and his inconsistent profile is a worry. Others look less risky and are preferred.
3 SUNGLIDER – Two wins of the turf this summer for David O’Meara’s four-year-old who has looked in the handicapper’s grip since his latest win three starts ago at Beverley. At that same venue he could only manage a well held fourth 22 days ago and the handicapper has refused to budge his mark. He has little room for error at present and he looks vulnerable once again.
4 JUFN – Allowed a very soft lead at Chepstow three starts ago and he made no mistake by winning comfortably, with excuses for his two subsequent defeats. He is now only three pounds above that Chepstow mark and a return to form would be no surprise, with this course winner perfectly fine returning to the all weather. John Butler is in superb form at present and a big run looks inbound.
5 BOYCIE – Won five starts ago at Sandown in a Class 5 handicap, but he’s still four pounds above that mark and he’s been well beaten on his last three runs for Richard Hannon. He has no room for error off of this mark as proven by that latest run and he looks vulnerable once again, despite Tina Smith taking seven pounds off his back thanks to her claim. Place contender at best.
6 DOLPHIN VILLAGE – Finished a good third at Thirsk back in April off a seven pound higher mark, but he’s gone completely off the boil on his last three starts. He weakened away tamely when only seventh and all but tailed off a Newmarket two weeks ago, with the handicapper dropping him a further three pounds. That does make him tempting, however others have far less to prove and he’s too risky today.
7 ICE DANCING Two wins from two all weather starts from this lightly raced three-year-old, last seen running away with a Class 5 Wolverhampton handicap three weeks ago. She’s now five pounds higher but she’s much less exposed than most of her rivals and further improvement would be no surprise. It’s required now that she’s upped in class, but she looks a key player for connections in red-hot form.
8 BRIDGE OF SIGHS – Made his stable debut for Lee Carter last month at Sandown, travelling brilliantly throughout the race and only beaten a length after being outpaced late on. He is very interesting back up to this 1m 2f distance as that looks his optimum and the fact that he’s back onto his last winning mark makes the case for him all the more clearer. He goes fine on the all weather and, with Danny Muscutt taking the ride, he looks set to go close.
9 LIGHT OF JOY – Broke her maiden at the third attempt for David Lanigan and she followed up that effort when second on handicap debut at Leicester, running on strongly when it was all over. Her last two runs have been backwards steps though, and she arrives here with something to prove, looking very poor on her latest start at Bath two weeks ago. Hard to dismiss her entirely but others are preferred.
10 X RATED – Finished second at Windsor on his penultimate start, but that was only a four runner field and he returned to his disappointing recent form when only fifth at Chester last month. He remains on the same mark and he continues to be risky, with this race unlikely to play to his strengths as a soft lead is very unlikely. Stall 11 doesn’t help his chances and others are preferred.
11 THE GAY CAVALIER – Last win came back in June off a one pound higher mark, but he’s had plenty of starts since and most of them have been average at best. He was last seen at Epsom nine days ago when finishing third – one of his better displays – and a repeat would see him in with a squeak of placing for John Ryan. That said, he’s very much vulnerable to an improver and should fall short for win purposes.
12 TAN ARABIQ – Won three starts ago at Wolverhampton with a strong late surge to lead on the post, but he’s not been at his best on two subsequent runs. He was last seen over the mile at Newmarket where he kept on slowly inside the final furlong, so a step up to this distance could unlock further progress from him. Mick Appleby is amongst the winners and he shouldn’t be discounted for the placings.
13 OURMULLION – Improving sort for John Best earlier this season, finishing third over the mile trip three starts ago. He’s faced some tough tasks the last twice, with the softer ground a viable excuse for his latest start at Newmarket. He is certainly worth a crack at this trip once again back on his favoured surface and the cheekpieces should help resume his progress. Josie Gordon takes over the ride and a big run looks inbound.