A tight looking seven furlong handicap on paper, but it is a race that may just have one or two bits of value in it.
David Simcock’s yard have started the season in fine fettle so it would be no surprise to see his representative, Can’t Change It, play some sort of role in the finish here. Jamie Spencer takes the mount and the five year old bolted up to win by four lengths when last scene back in September. The Gelding has a 20% striker rate on both the ground and at the distance, but the lay off of some 250 plus days gives the impression he may just need the run as he has done previously in his career.
Former Champion Jockey Richard Hughes looks to finding his stride as a trainer and his horse Russian Realm won this race back in 2014 for Sir Michael Stoute so he should give a bold another bold account today. He gained a breakthrough win for the yard when getting up on the line three weeks ago and now carries a 3lb rise for that, but may need a little bit of luck from the middle draw off his revised mark.
The one that really catches the eye, however, is the Mark Johnston trained Enlace. The four-year-old filly is a bit of a course specialist around here having already got three course and distance victories to her name and she is able to run off just 1lb higher mark than for the last of those wins today.
She ended her three year old campaign in poor form with three out of sort runs, but despite adding a fourth poor race to that list on her reappearance, she has always improved for a run in every season of her career so far. A return to familiar surroundings can rejuvenate her here today and she gets the nod at a massive each way price given her track form.
This three-year-old handicap over the 1m1f trip could potentially be filled with some progressive types. David Evans knows the time of day when it comes to winning handicaps and his horse Sark looks likely to be right in the mix again here today. The Zoffany colt took another step forward when adding a second career win in handicap at Doncaster recently and that form looks rock solid given that the second, third and fourth horses that day have all come out and won since. But he is among the most highly tried horses in the race and may just be vulnerable to a more progressive sort.
Marcus Tregoning’s Thaqaffa has only four runs under his belt and has yet to get his head in front, but he showed significant improvement on his handicap debut when second to the impressive Oh This Is Us. That horse came out and followed that up when he won impressively at Newmarket last Saturday. On that evidence Thaqaffa looks quite well in here despite a 4lb rise, especially when you consider the third horse from its last race has also come out and won since. The Tregoning team look to have found a perfect opportunity to break the maiden tag here so she gets the confident nod.
One other horse who may feature is the William Haggas trained Bedrock. Ryan Moore take the ride today on this quirky three-year-old gelding. The horse ran a decent race to place third for the second time out of two runs this season, but it has yet to look like adding to its maiden win of softer ground last season. The return to Good ground will certainly suit more than Windsor last time out and the drop in trip will also suit, but she may have to settle for a minor role again here conceding weight to the Tregoning horse.
The evening racing from this popular Yorkshire track throws up a decent opportunity for a winner in this 1m6f handicap. The Brian Ellison yard are in really nice shape at the minute and their five-year-old Always Resolute looks to have found a decent opportunity to follow up his success over the weekend. The horse took advantage of its lenient flat mark after a decent hurdling campaign for the yard, when justifying some strong market support to land the spoils easily at Doncaster on Saturday. The five year old escapes unpenalised for that win so providing he has recovered from that race, will be very hard to beat here. The assistance of useful 7lb claimer Ben Robinson further aids the cause and so this one looks one of the bets of the day.
Corona Borealis rates as the main danger to the selection having made the frame in four out of his five starts for the Michael Dods yard last term. The five-year-old has since switched to the Martin Todhunter stable and makes his debut for the yard here today, but despite being well capable of readying one off a break, their team form hasn’t been up to much of late so he may have to settle for runner up.
Jan Smuts finally got his head in front to break a long losing sequence under a 7lb claimer a fortnight ago, but a 4lb rise makes life much more difficult here over a slightly shorter trip. Not one to depend on in recent years and will have to build on recent win to trouble the selection here, but the eight-year-old is a genuine horse who can fill the minor places.
ALWAYS RESOLUTE (WIN)