This is a competitive handicap over 1m 2f, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Roger Varian has an excellent strike rate at Windsor and he can better his record again today with SHARGIAH. He looked a tad one-paced on his seasonal reappearance at Lingfield and given that he looked like he needed the run, he should improve plenty now up in trip and he can take advantage of a generous handicap mark here. There are slight question marks regarding this step down in trip for Eskendash whilst any money for Ripoll would be of interest with Oisin Murphy on board.
1 SHARGIAH – Finished fourth of five in a Class 4 handicap at Lingfield last month, beaten 1 1/4 lengths. He looked slightly one-paced that day and the step up in trip to 1m 2f should bring out plenty of improvement in him off the same mark. He’s lightly-raced compared to some of his main market rivals here although this looks like the right grade and handicap mark for him at this stage. The stable have an excellent 30% strike rate here.
2 PRENDERGAST HILL – Ed de Giles’ runner was just touched off at Kempton on his seasonal return to action last month. He attempted to make all that day but was just caught on the post and the handicapper has raised him another 2lbs following that run. He has won off a mark of 82 previously and that leaves him on a nice mark still and he’s likely to attract market support here with that run under his belt. Respected today.
3 RIPOLL – Remains a maiden on the turf from 9 runs and he drops back in grade here having struggled in a Class 3 contest at Chelmsford last month. He returns to a mark of 78 now back on the turf and he was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths in a better grade than this so there’s a case to be made for him here. He’s not the most reliable sort though and he has been slightly inconsistent so others make more appeal today.
4 ESKENDASH – Pam Sly’s runner was sent off 5/2 favourite on his first flat start and he duly delivered, scoring by a neck. He won well that day although the form has taken some knocks since and the step down in trip by a furlong isn’t ideal for this stayer so there are some negatives to his profile. Adam Kirby retains his place in the saddle which is an obvious plus and he may be best suited by attempting to make all here and stretching out his oppositions stamina.
5 CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS – Won a low-grade handicap off a 5lb lower mark back in February, finishing in-front of a thriving sort. He couldn’t justify that extra weight in a one mile handicap at Lingfield and this is tougher now upped in grade against some more progressive sorts. Richard Kingscote takes over in the saddle which looks positive (5 wins from his last 32 rides) and he’ll need the step up in trip to bring about some improvement.
6 BEST EXAMPLE – Without victory since October 2015 and he’s been comfortably beaten on his last four starts since moving to Julia Feilden’s stable. He’s started to come down in the weights and is now 3lbs lower than his last career mark although he may need another drop in the weights before becoming competitive again. He may just need this run off a 107-day break and he will find easier contests than this. Best watched today.
7 CHORAL CLAN – Has returned to Brendan Powell following a spell with Philip Mitchell where he won and placed four times on the All-Weather. He was comfortably held at Kempton in a weaker contest than this last month off the same mark and he may just struggle again now dropped in trip and raised in grade against some less exposed sorts. He’s yet to win in 12 attempts on the turf and others are preferred.
8 SARK – David Evans’ son of Zoffany races here off his last winning mark which came at Doncaster in this grade last year. He was comfortably held in an average Class 5 handicap at Wolverhampton in November and has been off the track since but he goes well fresh and he’s worthy of his chance in this grade. He was competitive in a Class 3 handicap at Chester back in September and any market support would be encouraging.
9 BERGHOLT – 10-race maiden who struggled for form as a 3yo. He placed off 72 at Goodwood in May but he failed to follow that effort up and the step down in trip doesn’t look ideal based on pedigree and on what he’s achieved to date. Mitch Godwin is an interesting booking given he’s not riding for Sylvester Kirk and his 5lb claim leaves this bottom weight on a very low mark. Tricky to make a case for in this and will need weaker company than todays to score.