With just the five set to go to post you’d potentially be fooled into thinking it’s a relatively easy race to decipher however with the perceived outsiders all claiming a win or a second from their last two starts, compared to the more well fancied duo who haven’t then it’s hard to discredit any all that readily.
Talented amateur Isabel Williams has a fantastic record when partnering the seven year old Sabbathical with two third placed finishes and a win from the three times they’ve teamed up. Current odds of 12/1 seem too generous but the likelihood is he’s going to find one or two too good.
Port Or Starboard and Jaunty Viking have been ultra-consistent this term with neither finishing outside of the top three all season. Bernard Llewellyn’s charge looks the more interesting of the two but with his maiden tag still intact after 13 fights he looks to be a proverbial bridesmaid.
We’re then left with a duo that are currently vying for favouritism with fellow maiden Ballybreeze aiming to finally end up in the winners enclosure after a promising 3rd in a decent race at Wetherby last time out. That most recent performance looks to be solid form but he went off an odds on favourite that day so in many’s eyes he disappointed. He deserves another chance but once again I fear he’s going to find one too good.
I’m then left with a horse who ticks plenty of boxes. A former winner on similar heavy ground, represents a top yard and has a more than capable young apprentice in the saddle it’s hard to knock Hacker Des Places who, in all honesty, looks somewhat overpriced at around 7/4 and should take all the beating.
HACKER DES PLACES (WIN)
There’s some top-quality action on the card at Lingfield with the likes of the Winter Derby taking centre stage but the fourth race to take place at the venue today looks equally as competitive in this one mile, Class 2 handicap.
Hafeet Alain has been very consistent of late but has failed to find the line in-front in his last eight starts and in that time he’s changed trainers twice. He’s always failed to deliver when stepped up to this level and no doubt a statement like this will ensure I’m left eating my words but as a favourite he looks well worth taking on.
If veteran Oh This Is Us can produce anything close to his best he’ll be able to dominate a race of this nature. The former Group 3 winner has a tonne of class but looks a shadow of his former self and there’s no doubt he’s got a tough task competing with younger and fresher opposition.
Since changing yards to Robyn Brisland Shoot To Kill has seen a massive change in fortune racking up a trio of back to back victories that started on stable debut. A third here last time out looks decent form and with Georgia Dobie taking 3lbs off the horses back he’s got a very decent chance and looks likely to go close. He’s definitely the biggest danger to the selection.
From one female jockey to another and top rider Hollie Doyle aims to make it back to back course and distance victories onboard Imperial Sands. The Archie Watson trained for year old seems to be a rejuvenated animal since being gelded over the winter and since then has produced a string of solid results, all of which have come over today’s course and distance. His win last time out indicated he still has plenty of room left to progress and with the handicapper only rising him 3lbs in the ratings I’m expecting him to claim another success.
IMPERIAL SANDS (WIN)
written by Rory Paddock