One of the most popular sprint handicap of the season next and as it has been won in all of the last five renewals by either Richard Fahey or David O’Meara, common sense suggests we start our race preview with horses trained by that pair. Both have plenty of entries but we prefer the chances of Alben Star (20/1 Each Way) who will be ridden by David Nolan which can only increase his price as most will assume Tony Hamilton is on the stable number one. The selection has won off this mark and higher in the past, all be it on the polytrack, so we aren’t asking him to do anything beyond his abilities, while seven of his eight career victories were over this six furlong trip. Last time out he was only beaten four and a half lengths in the Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood and this looks a lot weaker than that particular race, and if he gets the obligatory luck in running all the sprinters need, he arrives here with every chance.
Richard Fahey also runs Nuno Tristan (10/1) who has room to improve a little bit at the tender age of four and arrives here in red hot form. Last time out at Glorious Goodwood the son of Henrythenavigator was a length third to Hoof It in the Stewards Sprint after heavy market support saw him sent off at 13/2, and as he has only been put up a single pound for that effort he won’t be far away today granted a clear run of course, but may have to settle for second here.
Trainer David O’Meara may also be mob handed here and why hot with such a valuable prize but we hope he sticks with the in-form Intisaab (10/1) who has run seven races this season winning two and finishing second in three others. Last time out he was runner up to Kimberella at York in a decent Class Two handicap but is another who has only been put up a pound and granted a good draw he could well be there or thereabouts once again with his course and distance win an added bonus.
David “Dandy” Nicholls is on fire again this season and Orion’s Bow (5/1) did nothing wrong in defeat when runner up to Dancing Star in the Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood where all the best form seems to be coming from. That run was on the back of five wins in a row which is more than a little impressive in handicaps to put it mildly, and although he has been put up another three pounds for that, he is in such good form that we really can’t write him off just yet though a place may be more realistic.
Lastly, there is an old racing saying that they don’t give weight to donkeys, and Perfect Pasture (16/1) has to carry top weight here because he is, in the handicapper’s opinion, the best horse in the race. Now a six-year-old he has won nine of his thirty-one starts including last time out at The Curragh when he put two lengths between himself and nearest pursuer Master Speaker in a very valuable handicap at odds of 16/1, though that has seen him put up ten pounds which will not help his chances this afternoon even though Nathan Evans reduces that by five pounds thanks to his jockey’s claim.