He bolted up by 4 lengths here in July and was predictably hit hard by the handicapper, being upped 8lb. There was equally no surprise to see that he has struggled since, though he ran okay to a point at Doncaster last time. The handicapper has left him on his career-high mark though, so that makes life very tough for him. I hope I am wrong but I think he has his work cut out off this mark.
Phoenix Of Spain
I rode him when he finished fourth at Sandown on his debut, and I was quite taken by him. He shaped with a lot of promise there and the race has worked out very well; the runner-up, Persian Moon, who runs here, and the third have both won since. He then went on to win in a canter at Wolverhampton and, although that form may not be as strong, he couldn’t have done it any easier. He needs to improve to come up to this level, but the potential is there all right – he is a nice prospect, though ideally he wouldn’t want lightning-quick ground – and there is no stand-out in this race. I’d be confident of finishing in front of Persian Moon this time.
He looks to have caused a shock when beating Rathbone here on his debut but he has backed that form up with a couple of decent efforts in better company since, including in a Listed race at Ascot last time. The problem is that a mark of 89 looks pretty harsh to me on his handicap debut, but connections like him and hopefully there is improvement in there.
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