I thought he would run better than he did at York last time, but at least he has been dropped 2lb for it and we know that he goes well here. In fact, he was only just touched off in this race last year and can now race off a 5lb lower mark. He is definitely weighted to win if he can return to form, and the fitting of a hood for the first time – and cheekpieces for just the second time – will hopefully help him. If he jumps well from stall three, hopefully he can get a good early position. He does need to show more than of late, though.
He has done well since winning on his debut wasn’t beaten far at all when seventh in the July Stakes last time and that was a big step up on his previous form. If he comes on at a similar rate – and the cheekpieces that he wore at Newmarket are left off here – then he has each-way claims.
He has not enjoyed the best of luck this season, and has been inched out in Listed races at Doncaster and Windsor. He comes here after a good third to Spirit Of Valor in a Group 2 at the Curragh last time on ground that was probably quick enough for him, and any ease here will definitely suit him better. It’s an incredibly competitive renewal of this race but he goes there with a chance, especially if there is still a bit of juice in the ground.
I know the horse very well and won on him a few years back, so it is good to get back on board. He won well in the soft over 5f at Newmarket in June and then ran well enough off a 6lb higher mark in a more competitive race at Ascot last time. He has come down 2lb since, and a bit of ease in the ground seems to suit him well these days.
She looks to be improving all the time, so hopefully that progression hasn’t stopped yet. I rode her when she won at Windsor and she clearly came on again when winning convincingly off a 3lb higher mark at the track last time. She has gone up 10lb for those victories but she is ground-versatile and has claims in what is admittedly a very competitive-looking handicap.
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