Being drawn 10 of 10 is obviously anything but ideal here. However, it is not as if he is a confirmed trail-blazer, so hopefully if gets the breaks in running that allow him to be competitive. He does have a fair bit going for him, I think. He showed a lot more when third at Epsom on Monday, and he is on a decent mark again if coming forward from that run. Indeed, he is 2lb lower than when winning at that track for me in April and he is also one from one at this track. Ideally, he would want it good or faster I suppose, but he does have winning form with ease in the ground.
I have said all season that Oasis Fantasy is going to win one day off his falling mark, but he is taking his time. He is clearly very well treated if returning to his 2016 best and he travelled well for a long way when third in the 1m4f handicap on Shergar Cup day last season, where he possibly found less than it seemed likely at one stage but he stuck on well enough. Some of his better efforts last season came in blinkers, and they are back on here for the first time in 2017. A measure of how well handicapped is that he races off a 13lb lower mark than when a close fifth in this race last year, and he handles ground with ease in it, but he has to go and do it – he isn’t straightforward – and this is a strong-looking 1m2f handicap.
He looked to be well suited by stepping up to this 7f trip at Goodwood last time and, if anything, I think this stiffer track will suit him on the evidence of that fourth. He has a 1lb pull for the head and a neck he was beaten by the runner Cheeky Rascal, who re-opposes here, and I think he has a fair chance in a typically competitive nursery.
He ran disappointingly at Newbury last time, but perhaps it was the soft ground that did for him there. But, saying that, he had been in good form on ground with a bit of ease in it before then, so maybe it was just an off day. He has been dropped 2lb for the run anyway, which helps, and he has each-way claims if coming back to form.
I have yet to get his head in front on three starts on him, and any more rain may not help me improve that record if his Brighton win last time is any guide. He looked to take a fair step forward on the fast ground when winning there, and the handicapper thinks so anyway, as he has upped him 6lb. But let’s hope the ground dries out – and he does have form with some cut it in – and he can progress again in this better quality and deeper handicap.
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