This is a Class 4 handicap raced over an extended 1m, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: This is a competitive handicap and EXCEL AGAIN can come out on top. James Tate’s son of Exceed And Excel has plenty of ability and he’s won twice from three starts on the All-Weather. He should go in again today ahead of First Up who steps down in trip following a pleasing run last time out. Pushaq is an Irish raider and will do well to beat his younger rivals on these terms.
1 COUNT MONTECRISTO – Kevin Ryan’s runner is tried in cheekpieces for the first time today in an effort to bring out more improvement in him. He ran an abysmal race last time out, finishing last of eight but perhaps he’s just not as good on Good to Soft ground and he’s back onto a fair mark here. He remains 5lbs higher than his last winning mark but he was only beaten by a useful sort off 2lbs higher earlier this year and he’s tricky to rule out back on the All-Weather.
2 PALMERSTON – Only 1lb higher than his last success which came in a class 4 handicap in May. He’s yet to win on the All-Weather and he looks high enough in the weights although he may not quite be done improving for a stable that can continue to bring out more in these sorts of horses. The yard’s form is a major cause for concern with just one winner from their last 37 runners over the past fortnight. Best watched in this.
3 PUSHAQ – Was raised 2lbs for a good second to the progressive Shargiah and he’s been held off this mark in Ireland on his last two starts. The return to the All-Weather and slightly weaker opposition will help and the yard don’t send runners over here if they don’t have a good chance. He’s a C&D winner and the market should be a useful guide as to the confidence behind his chances today. Respected.
4 TOGA TIGER – Has shown a fair level of consistency in three starts for Daniel Loughnane since arriving at the yard earlier this year. The handicapper has dropped him 2lbs in the weights which will help but he’s hiding nothing from the handicapper now making his 61st career start and he’s vulnerable to a couple of better weighted rivals. He could sneak a place but he’s vulnerable for win purposes. Richard Kingscote is an extremely positive booking though.
5 IDOL DEPUTY – Grand old servant aged 11 and making his 81st career start today. He won over C&D back in February and the handicapper rather harshly punished him with a 6lb rise in the weights for that success. He remains on the same mark today which looks too high at this stage of his career and he will need things to fall perfectly to come out on top in this now up in grade.
6 EXCEL AGAIN – Lightly-raced son of Exceed And Excel who arrives here on the back of a decent success at Newcastle last month. He beat a relatively well-treated rival that day and it’s no surprise to see him raised 6lbs as a result. He obviously likes the All-Weather with two wins and a placed effort from three starts on the surface and he should go well again today. This asks more off a new mark but he should progress and will be dangerous in this field.
7 SOLDIER’S GIRL – Drops in grade following some mixed performances in Class 3 company. She was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths at Ascot over a mile back in May but she disappointed over that C&D earlier this month off a mark of 85. She’s dropped 2lbs in the weights which will help as will the drop in grade but she doesn’t look to be as progressive as some of her rivals and is opposed in this.
8 GLORIOUS ARTIST – Ran a fair race behind City Of Joy at Doncaster back in May when sent off 20/1. Connections will have been encouraged by that run and he’s stepped up marginally again in trip to an extended mile today. He looks high enough in the weights at present off a mark of 82 and he will need to produce more to come out on top today.
9 FIRST UP – Bumped into a useful sort at Epsom on his first run off a gelding operation and he will improve a bundle for that run. The switch to the All-Weather is a positive move although the step back down in trip is questionable with plenty of stamina on his dam’s side. Jim Crowley is a positive booking and stall 6 is fine so there are reasons to expect a big run today for a yard operating at a 33% strike rate at present.
10 DUBAI ELEGANCE – Lightly-raced daughter of Sepoy who makes her fourth career start today. She was well-held in a Newcastle handicap over 7 furlongs last time out off a mark of 81 and she runs off a 1lb lower mark today following a 259-day break off the track. She clearly isn’t one of the yard’s better runners and she’s unlikely to provide much value in an open contest off a long break.