I imagine connections wanted to get him out quickly before the handicapper put him up a bit for his excellent second at Newmarket last week. We only got done on the nod there, and I think he must come into this handicap with a favourite’s chance as a result. He goes well when fresh but the run will have sharpened him up, and he did win at Newmarket second time up last season. He hasn’t raced here before but he handles the undulations of Newmarket well so he must have a leading chance, for all that he meets some Epsom specialists like Normal Equilibrium and Monumental Lad, the winners of the last two runnings of this handicap.
I think we could all be playing for places if the vibes surrounding John Gosden’s Cracksman are correct, as he looked very good when winning at Newmarket last autumn. You do hear very good things about him. The stable obviously couldn’t be in better form and they also have also Tartini, a Giant’s Causeway half-brother to Leger winner Lucarno, in here as well. But Godolphin’s Nottingham winner Youmkin looks a pretty good prospect too, and plenty of others in here are unexposed and capable of making big strides forward this season. Hopefully my colt Never Surrender will progress as the season develops. When I rode him at Doncaster last season I thought he would make up into a nice prospect this season and he confirmed that when just touched off in a 1m2f maiden on his return to that track earlier in the month. He needs to step up a good deal to be troubling some of these, though.
He is 6lb higher than when winning at Carlisle last season but he went on to finish a good third at Ayr and he ran a satisfactory reappearance when fifth over 1m6f at Musselburgh about a fortnight ago. He wasn’t dropped in the weights for that run, but that will hopefully have brought him on and if he can handle Carlisle then I think he will be okay around here. The step down to 1m4f should be no problem either.
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