This is an interesting handicap over 1 mile, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: There are plenty with chances in this and GOSSIPING can go in again as he seeks a hat-trick of wins. He has a penalty to contend with but he won his last race a shade cosily and he’s well thought of by his trainer so there’s every chance he will go in again with more progression to come. Special Season is better than he’s shown of late and could be slipping to a more workable mark whilst The Warrior continues to frustrate with just one win in twenty starts.
1 ALEJANDRO – Finished behind Gossiping and The Warrior on his last run at Kempton and looked to be held by both on that occasion. He’s won once for David Loughnane since arriving at his yard earlier this year but that came as a big surprise and the handicapper has kept him on a 4lb higher mark since. He’s likely to find this even tougher than his last race but he is better off at the weights with Gossiping. Interesting.
2 SPECIAL SEASON – Has yet to win for Jamie Osbourne and his best effort came at Saint-Moritz in February over shorter than this. He is a winner over a mile and used to be rated 100 but he’s been slightly regressive this winter and he’s on a career low mark of 87 today. Progression is still possible aged only four and this is his first run in Class 4 company ever which makes him of serious interest. Respected.
3 KINGSTON KURRAJONG – 1lb better off with Special Season for a 1 1/4 length defeat at Southwell last time out. He’s run to a fair level this winter but he looks as if the handicapper is in control and he’s not showing much mercy for his previous two outings. He is now on his last winning mark but that came on the turf off a very low weight so it’s questionable how he will fare giving weight away here. This is a weaker contest than of late but his trainer has a very poor record here (6% strike rate, 14 winners from 223 runners) and he’s avoided in this.
4 LACAN – Once a winner off a mark of 91 and 93 and he finally got back to winning ways at Wolverhampton last time out in a claimer. The form of that race is pretty poor and the handicapper has raised him 2lbs for the win which looks rather harsh but he’s not without a chance on old form and his issues may have been ironed out. Oisin Murphy is a good booking and his trainer is profitable here but he is drawn in stall 11 and that could make things more complicated.
5 GOSSIPING – By Dubawi and has finally shown his early promise having won three of his last four starts. The handicapper had raised him to a mark of 79 but he defied that by winning again at Kempton last time out having done it a shade cosily. He carries a 6lb penalty here which puts him on a career high mark but he’s clearly on an upward curve and it’s likely there is even more to come from him for a trainer operating at a 22% strike rate in the last fortnight. He should take all the beating here.
6 THE WARRIOR – Has shown improved form since being gelded and returned from a long break. He’s been beaten by relatively short distances on his last two outings and receives a 6lb swing in the weights with Gossiping in this for a 1 1/4 length defeat at Kempton last week which makes him interesting here. He had Alejandro in behind which is probably the smartest piece of recent form but his overall career record is one win from 20 starts and he’s an incredibly frustrating horse. Has a major chance again and connections are hoping the first time eye shield can finally see him home in front.
7 BALLARD DOWN – Lightly-raced Canford Cliffs gelding who won on his second attempt at racing back in December 2015. He’s been missing since last summer having shown some decent enough form in this grade and it’s tricky to know what to expect now returning to C&D. He’s left on a mark of 84 which does look workable but much of his chance today depends on his level of fitness and he’s one to keep an eagle eye on in the betting.
8 ROYAL RESERVE – Has been running over hurdles this winter and is a dual winner on the flat over 7 furlongs and a mile. He’s still 5lbs higher than that last winning mark back in April of last year and the handicapper has probably been a bit harsh not to drop him having been well beaten in both codes since. Still looks up against it at the weights and may be seen to better effect when racing off a lower mark.
9 ARROWZONE – Trainer has sent out one winner from 16 runners here at Kempton and it would be a surprise to see his horse win this. He’s been comfortably beaten in two similar contests over slightly further since returning from a break (33/1 and 50/1 respectively) although he is now 6lbs lower than his last winning mark. Connections will likely have their day with this one at some point in the season but he may be better off back on the turf. Avoided here.
10 BERRAHRI – Was victorious at Saint-Moritz in February this year over a mile but his last victory in the UK came back in August 2015 on the turf. He drops back in trip having finished sixth of 10 at Chelmsford last time out at 14/1 and he still remains 8lbs higher than his last winning mark and a drop of 1lb following his last run looks tough again from the handicapper. He doesn’t make too much appeal in this.
11 BLACK DAVE – A tricky horse to recommend following a below-par run at Lingfield in a claimer last time out having found nothing when asked under Adam Kirby. He gets the assistance of David Egan in this who claims 7lbs which will certainly help but his recent winning form has come in weaker contests than this and he’s going to find life difficult here even though he receives plenty of weight from his rivals.