We begin today with a competitive looking field of fourteen for this class five handicap. Woodbridge is the early market leader and arrives after just being touched off in to second when last seen here in November. That was his first run in six months so he should be able to benefit from the recent run but had been disappointing on both previous attempts over todays’ trip, finishing down the field after weakening inside the final furlong or so.
Preference is for the recent course and distance winner Gracious George, a winner here earlier this month. Hill Of Dreams finished four lengths behind in fourth that day but has since gone on to win impressively so the recent form holds up well. He has been raised 3lbs for that success but has won off higher marks last year and has a 46% strike rate for top three finishes when racing on the all-weather so should be able to remain competitive here.
Gracious George (E/W if 5/1+)
Don’t Be arrives here looking for his hat-trick after wins at Lingfield and Wolves within the last month, both over todays’ trip. He comes up against a number of course and distance winners but is the only one who arrives on the back of a recent win and looks to be progressing nicely since switching to all-weather surfaces from turf.
Ertikaan has a win and two placed efforts from his last three races and looks to be the biggest danger. With jockey Shelley Birkett’s 5lb claim he effectively races just 2lbs higher than his last win but has only managed one win from ten over todays’ trip so is passed over today.
Footstepsintherain is another who has been running consistently and has placed in his last three runs. Despite not managing to get his nose in front he has been raised 4lbs for his efforts, although has been competitive off higher marks in the past. With a 66% strike rate on an all-weather surface for top three finishes he could be one for the places again today.
Don’t Be (WIN)
Sarlat looks to be the early favourite for this class six handicap over nine furlongs. The only course and distance winner in this field, she has the best recent form on offer with two wins from her last four races. The biggest concern I have with Sarlat is that jockey Paul Mulrennan has a poor strike rate at Wolves with only three wins from sixty one. Furthermore he has never ridden a winner for trainer W M brisbourne and for this reason I have to look elsewhere.
Ambella has shown recent improvement with two recent placed efforts and was only a length away from the winner in her last run, albeit over seven furlongs. She stayed on well in both recent runs so could be the main danger to the favourite if she handles the step up in trip.
Russian Ice hasn’t made the frame in any of her last nine runs and hasn’t won a race for almost two years but with an overall strike rate of 39% for finishes inside the first three she could be one to watch at a likely each way price.