Just seven go to post for this class 4 handicap yet there are a number who look to be in with reasonable chances. Early favourite Mariee has won twice over seven furlongs on the all-weather but could only manage a modest third when attempting a mile for the first time. He switches to turf for today’s race but although obviously in decent form he looks too short to be backed with any real confidence.
Ice Slice has a 4lbs rise to contend with following a course and distance victory last month and all three career wins have come on good-to-soft or soft ground so he may prove vulnerable today.
Richard Hannon boasts a 25% winning strike rate over the last five years here at Brighton so Kismet Hardy must be respected, although his best run to date came over shorter than today’s trip and on soft going.
The selection is course specialist Pour La Victoire who has four wins and five placed efforts from ten runs here, with two wins and two placed efforts from four over todays’ trip. Although there are only two places up for grabs the 6 year old has been running consistently on the all-weather and should be capable of a top two finish returning to his favourite course.
Pour La Victoire (E/W if 9/2+)
On a tough looking day of racing we continue with the ‘horses for courses’ theme in the hope that My Friend George can continue his great record here. In five previous runs he has won three and placed twice and although has placed second on his last three runs he has held his form well and been beaten by some other in-form horses. Furthermore trainer Kenneth Slack holds an excellent record here with a 58% winning strike rate over the last three years so he has to be the selection despite the likely short odds.
Master Rajeem is another with good form here at Sedgefield, having won two and placed three times from six attempts. His recent form has been pretty poor so he isn’t one to have the utmost confidence in, although has dropped down the weights as a result and is partnered with talented claimer Killian Moore who takes off a further 3lbs so cannot be discounted either.
Tiny Dancer looks to be the best of the rest having won here and won previously over todays’ trip, although was well beaten by the aforementioned My Friend George when they last met on Boxing Day last year.
My Friend George (WIN)
Next Sensation is our final selection and is considered a somewhat tentative one considering he hasn’t won in over twelve months. However, that win was in the 2015 Grand Annual at Cheltenham and today sees a big drop in class off an 8lbs lower mark. He will need to improve on recent runs but if returning to anywhere near his best he would prove extremely tough to beat here.
Vesperal Dream has a 50% win record over todays’ trip, a 33% win record over fences and won returning from a similar break this time last year. Paul Nichols has been in fine form recently so it would be dangerous to write off his seven year old despite him being 7lbs above his last winning mark.
Tom George is another trainer with his horses running well at the moment so O Maonlai also merits consideration. He disappointed when last seen at Cheltenham and hasn’t got his nose in front very often but has been dropped 3lbs which is sure to help and with winning form over todays’ trip he may prove a shrewd each way option.
Next Sensation (E/W)