An intriguing three year old handicap over a mile and a half with a number of these looking nice recruits to go onto much better things in 2017, It could be a race to re-watch and follow through the flat season. Read on for our experts tip and runner by runner preview.
IN SUMMARY: SERENADE THE STARS is likely to prove popular to continue his improvement and rightfully so, with a seven pound rise not looking too harsh for his recent win. He was in front of Masterfilly when they met at Wolverhampton and although she is likely to improve for the step up in trip, he should have her measure again for all that she is the likeliest danger. The Last Debutante has the potential to improve significantly for the step up in trip but she could yet need further still before fulfilling her potential.
1 SERENADE THE STARS – Has sported headgear ever since his debut so evidently not the most straightforward. He has improved markedly however stepped into the handicap ranks, narrowly failing to land a gamble at Wolverhampton before making no mistake at Chelmsford when last seen. A seven pound rise in the weights looks lenient on the visual impression he made that day with trainer James Tate looking to have found another winnable opportunity here. A damline that boasts Listed and Group winners such at Leporello and Poppy Carew who improved with age looks promising for his continued progression.
2 DUSTY BERRY – Given her stout pedigree, she ran well above herself on her debut over 6f at Newbury. She failed to back up that impression in a pair of subsequent starts however, including in a seller, looking increasingly recalcitrant. Connections reach for cheek pieces in a bid to sweeten her up with the step up in trip looking like it will suit. Her dam is a half sister to two mile AW scorer Frosty Berry who improved for the fitting of headgear (hood) so there is a chance we will see her in a better light and her best run was fresh.
3 SETTLE PETAL – Running to a consistent level over shorter of late both here and at Lingfield. She has been plugging on at one pace at the end of a mile to suggest that a step up in trip might see her improve but half a mile is rather drastic. Her dam was best at a mile while her full brother was a 7f horse so on pedigree it may be that she is just not well handicapped rather than crying out for this trip, with her last three runs all being to a very similar level.
4 THE LAST DEBUTANTE – Has struggled to quicken over shorter at Wolverhampton but this longer trip and slightly longer straight could suit her. Her dam was a winner over two miles on the flat, breaking her duck over this C&D and that could be the key to unlocking the improvement from her daughter as well, dropped a couple of pounds from her original handicap mark but further still this summer could see her run up a sequence.
5 AFFAIR – Showed a bit of promise on soft ground at Newbury last season but her two goes in handicaps on the all weather have been distinctly moderate. The yard know the family well having trained her dam as well as her dam’s half brother who won the Cambridgeshire in 2009. There is hope of her getting middle distances on that side of her pedigree but she may be better suited to soft turf when the season resumes next month.
6 MASTERFILLY – Well behind Serenade The Stars at Wolverhampton when last seen in action but that run was promising. She looks like this extra distance will suit her well, while she is bred to be considerably better than a 56 rated filly. Her Grand-dam was a half sister to Oaks winner Reams Of Verse, Eclipse winner Elmaamul and Yorkshire Cup winner Manifest among others. Middle distances should suit her down to the ground in 2017 and she could be one to follow.
7 HOT LICK – Has had just the three runs to gain a handicap mark but has beaten the grand total of four horses home in that time. Likely to do better how that he is handicapping with this step up in trip likely to suit but isn’t obviously well treated and is best watched for signs of life with the future in mind.
8 MASTER BILLIE – Improved display for handicaps last time albeit well seen off by Serenade The Stars. A nine pound swing for that beating should enable him to get closer to the favourite here but he would need to step forward considerably more to turn the form around, The extra distance is a question mark given his dam’s sole win came on the Fibresand at Southwell over 5f. She was a half sister to Guineas winner Cockney Rebel but her offspring have done best at trips well short of this one so far.
9 GOG ELLES – Finished behind Serenade The Stars but just in front of Masterfilly at Wolverhampton last time out. She didn’t look to quite get home over this trip when she tried it in Janaury but that was in a maiden where the first three were all rated north of 70 so it would be wrong to judge her too harshly on that. There is a small race to be won with her but after seven attempts already she could find a few of these progressing past her.
10 HI THERE SILVER – Showed a tiny glimmer of ability on turf last summer but runs on the all weather since have been less inspiring. He has stamina on his dam side including Prix D’Harcourt winner Earlene and King Edward VII victor Foyer so the step up in trip should suit. That said he has yet to show anything like enough to be considered and can only be watched on this occasion.
11 SHADOW OF HERCULES – Has beaten just two horses home in his six races so far in a variety of headgear. The visor and step up in trip would have to have a close to miraculous effect if he is to get himself involved in the shake up here.