IN SUMMARY: Quite a few of these have appealing profiles in a competitive event but it’s still difficult to get away from THE BIG LAD (4/1), who failed to fire on his turf debut 18 days ago but had looked rapidly progressive on Polytrack beforehand and remains a horse to follow. Richard Hughes’ lightly raced 4yo overcame some scrimmaging in the early stages to win with considerable authority over C&D two starts ago and today’s 6lb higher mark may not prevent him hitting the target again. Merhoob has done well for his new stable this year and, with a decent gallop anticipated here, he’ll probably be dropped in from his wide stall and can pose a threat from off the pace. Yeeoow has been in very good form over C&D and on turf in recent months, and ought to be on the premises again. Good cases can also be made for Memories Galore, Varsovian and Bouclier.
1 Fleckerl – Struck form and won consecutive starts at Lingfield (6f/7f) in February/March; subsequently finished a close third off today’s mark but seems to have gone off the boil very quickly and, having finished down the field on last two outings, comes here with some searching questions to answer.
2 Mishaal – Front-runner; disappointed over 5f on turf last month but likes this C&D and ran well for a long way when returning from absence in Class 2 event here in March; 2lb lower now and drawn reasonably well in stall 5; no surprise if he makes a bold bid.
3 Magnus Maximus – Reached the frame on three of his four starts for new trainer Robyn Brisland in early part of this year, perhaps most notably when third at Chelmsford (6f, AW) two starts ago, but holds no secrets from the handicapper and is back from three-month break today; others preferred.
4 Morache Music – Ended last season with some moderate efforts on softish turf and has only ever raced once on the AW, when fourth over 7f here in 2014; been given plenty of help by the handicapper but evidently not the force of old and probably best watched after 226-day layoff.
5 Pensax Lad – Gave decent account when second off much lower turf mark at Doncaster (5f, good to soft) last month but returns to Polytrack on career-high AW mark and, although he has won twice over 6f, his very best form is over the minimum trip.
6 Memories Galore – Displayed improvement to win first two handicaps last summer, both of them over 6f on the AW; absent since midfield finish on turf in October but not yet fully exposed and could easily have more to offer as a 4yo back on this surface.
7 Varsovian – Comfortably held on turf last month but is seemingly a much better horse on this surface; can harm his chance by taking too keen a hold but is fairly consistent and on a workable mark; can make his presence felt.
8 Yeeoow – Gained his latest win in plating company but was placed in three consecutive C&D handicaps in February-April and returns here after three very creditable runs off his slightly higher turf mark; expected to be in the thick of things again.
9 Bouclier – Ran very respectably over 5f on soft turf when upped to Class 3 company last month and had been in excellent form on Polytrack beforehand, winning twice (once over C&D); current mark demands more but he’s dangerous to ignore back on this surface.
10 Merhoob – Has done well for new trainer John Ryan this year and collected two 6f Polytrack wins in March/April; returns to this surface after very creditable third in huge field at Ascot (6f, good to firm) and ought to have this race run to suit; respected.
11 Stellarta – Non-runner
12 The Big Lad – Lightly raced 4yo who began his career with three Polytrack wins, two of them in C&D handicaps; disappointing favourite when switched to turf this month and up in class again today but retains the potential to make significant further progress back on this surface.
myracing Forecast Prices: 3/1 The Big Lad, 4/1 Bouclier, 7/1 Yeeoow, Merhoob, 8/1 Magnus Maximus, Memories Galore, 10/1 Mishaal, 12/1 Pensax Lad, Varsovian, 25/1 Fleckerl, Morache Music