Dewala has finished in the first three places in all seven runs over jumps and got her first win last month over a slightly longer trip than today. She will likely prove popular with punters as nineteen times champion jockey Tony McCoy takes over in the saddle today but has gone up 8lbs and this could leave her vulnerable.
Short Takes steps back up in grade after a three length victory at Huntingdon in November but has previously performed with credit at this grade and with a 56% win and place strike rate over jumps he cannot be dismissed.
Danceintothelight is the only course and distance winner in the field and has a 40% strike rate for top three finishes here at Catterick. Declan McDonagh returns to the saddle and is an interesting booking as in the last eighteen months he has ridden here on five occasions and has placed in all five. Both jockey and horse appear to have a liking for this track and therefore could be worth an each way bet at likely larger odds.
Only four runners are scheduled to go to post in this class five handicap and Winter Queen looks likely to go off a short priced favourite. Despite the likely short odds she is the only previous course and distance winner and is difficult to oppose having beaten rival Dubawi Diamond (who finished fourth) by over two lengths when they last met here in November. Both second and third placed in that race went on to win next time out so the form holds up well and the break between races shouldn’t be a problem as this last win came on the back of a similar break.
Dark Wonder looks the most likely to give the favourite a race despite never featuring in three previous runs on an all-weather surface. He looked to be staying on well when fifth at Lingfield last month so could benefit from this longer trip.
Winter Queen (WIN)
Indian Affair has only managed one win in twenty six attempts on the all-weather but has a 50% strike rate for finishing in the first three and has been within a length of the winner on his last three runs. Running off the same mark and with Luke Morris keeping the partnership intact he could take his chance and double his win tally today.
Oak Bluffs showed very little when running on turf but has a win and a second to his name here at wolves so has to rate as a danger. He is passed over today as the win came over nine furlongs and the second came over todays’ trip, where he looked to be well held by the winner, so there are question marks over what is his optimum trip.
Chanceuse arrives on the back of a respectable third at Chelmsford last month but very few others have any decent recent form to consider, although it is worth noting that likely outsider of the field Basle is a previous multiple course and distance winner.
Indian Affair (WIN)