IN SUMMARY: RUSSIAN REWARD (9/1 Each Way) has only a small-field maiden win to his name but he was denied a clear run on his penultimate start and probably wasn’t suited by the drop back to 6f when fitted with cheekpieces last time. He is given another chance in the hope that the retained headgear proves the key to him over today’s more suitable trip. Torreon won a Wolverhampton maiden in good style a couple of weeks ago and has obvious potential to progress now switched to a handicap, but he faces a much tougher assignment today. Clement and Pour La Victoire have both been in excellent form in recent weeks but the former seems best at Lingfield and the latter is drawn wide here.
1 Dutch Art Dealer – Made quite encouraging return from long absence when midfield over 1m here in November but has been well below that form on both subsequent outings, the more recent when tried in blinkers; ought to cope with today’s drop back in trip but needs to up his game; sports refitted cheekpieces this time.
2 Clement – In the form of his life when completing quick 7f Lingfield hat-trick in January/February, and was arguably unlucky not to make it a four-timer when third there on his penultimate appearance; however, his latest run was slightly disappointing and he’s away from his favourite track tonight.
3 Majestic Myles – Smart in his prime but latest win came in plating company; claimed out of Richard Fahey stable for £7,000 after finishing last of three over 6f at Lingfield a fortnight ago; will be fine back over 7f but needs to respond well to first-time visor to get competitive now back in a handicap for stable debut.
4 Capelita – Won her maiden over C&D for Clive Brittain last summer and bettered that form when taking 1m Fibresand handicap by 6l for new stable in December; hasn’t made any further progress on her four starts since then, though, and seems to have developed a few quirks.
5 Pour La Victoire – Posted new personal-best performance when eased-down winner at Lingfield (7f) last month and ran well again when fourth over 6f there a fortnight ago; remains on career-high mark but is also effective here and expected to be in the thick of thing.
6 Air Of York – Much better known as a sprinter but appears to stay 7f well; won six times in 2015 and comes here on workable mark but hasn’t been firing on all cylinders this year and has awkward draw to overcome today.
7 Torreon – Improved upon mildly encouraging debut when runner-up at Wolverhampton (7f) for new stable last month and comfortably justified favouritism when dropped to 6f back there 16 days ago; takes on stronger opposition in first handicap today, but interesting to see how he fares.
8 Midnight Rider – Ended 2015 turf season in fairly good form and probably found 6f at Lingfield a bit sharp when returning from break two weeks ago; on handy mark if that run did him good but is 0-10 on AW and has been dealt a duff hand draw-wise tonight.
9 Mister Musicmaster – Not seen since moderate fourth in 7f Wolverhampton claimer in September; been given a chance by the handicapper if back on song after break but is a better horse on turf and others have more pressing claims.
10 Pick A Little – Won four times on turf last year (7f-1m) but was reeled in fairly easily after making the running after break at Wolverhampton (8.6f) recently; entitled to have benefited from that outing and is well drawn to attack from the front today but has no margin for error off current mark.
11 Presumido – Finished well to land narrow success over 1m at Lingfield in November and has reached the frame over that trip on all three subsequent appearances; reliant on a strong gallop now dropped back to 7f, though, and likely to find at least a couple better handicapped.
12 Russian Reward – Sole win from ten starts came in weak, small-field maiden but he appeared not to be suited by the drop back to 6f when a respectable fifth in first-time cheekpieces at Chelmsford recently and could have a say now back up in trip and with the headgear retained.
13 Justice First – Rallied well to prevail in three-way finish over 1m here last month and can cope with this drop back in trip but his last two runs, though perfectly respectable, suggest he’s vulnerable off his current mark.
myracing Forecast Prices: 9/2 Torreon, 6/1 Clement, Pour La Victoire, 8/1 Presumido, Russian Reward, Justice First, 12/1 Majestic Myles, Capelita, 14/1 Dutch Art Dealer, Midnight Rider, 16/1 Pick A Little, 20/1 Air Of York, 25/1 Mister Musicmaster