He didn’t enjoy the soft ground when disappointing at Newbury earlier in the season but he had a break and returned to form when winning at Kempton last month. In fact, that was a career-best and, while the form is mixed, the third and the fifth have come out and won since. A 7lb rise makes life tougher here but he obviously has few miles on the clock and hopefully the step up in trip will suit him. Hugo sent out the winner of this race last year, and only just got touched off in it in 2015.
I am thrilled to have picked up such a good ride for Sir Michael. She looks to have run as well as she has ever done when just beaten on the line in the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood last time and returns to handicap company on a fair mark of 102. We know that she stays well, and has form on all ground – though she would definitely prefer it if it doesn’t dry up too much, as she does look best with give – so I think she deserves to be among the favourites. Her draw in 19 will hopefully be okay, and fingers crossed for the ground, too. Any more rain would suit her.
He impressed me when I won on him at Kempton in the summer and he ran well when third here subsequently. He didn’t run as well dropped down to 5f on soft ground in the Molecomb last time, which is understandable, and hopefully the better ground here will suit him better. But, rated 84, he does have a lot to find with a few of these on form, so his winning chance isn’t obvious as things stand.
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