The first race to look at comes on the polytrack at Lingfield. A seven-furlong handicap is ahead of these 14 runner.
Skidby Mill has obvious claims based on her general form and her very good all-weather record. Laura Mongan’s five-year-old has had more opportunities at this track and from 20 starts here has won four and placed on nine occasions. You know what you’re getting when backing this mare. The concern for me here is the trip. Her best form is over one mile; so this seven-furlongs may be a bit too sharp.
Black Truffle has won six races in his career and they’ve been split between the Wolverhampton, Kempton and here, where he has two wins at each. On top of those wins here he has also placed on eight occasions showing he does have a liking for this surface. He won by a neck at Wolverhampton on his latest start and has gone up 4lb for that. However Charlotte Jenner can claim 7lb and has a very good record on this Mark Usher gelding. Despite a wide draw in stall 13 he looks the one to side with here.
Tom Marquand is impressing many with his work in the saddle and his 5lb claim could be useful for top weight Lucky Di’s chances here. She won by a neck at Leicester on her latest start and has risen to mark of 70. In April she won off a mark of 65, which in effect the jockey’s claim brings her down to. She has three wins at this track but like Black Truffle has a wide draw to overcome. Exoplanet Blue returns from a 44-day absence after she was eased down in her last race. Her previous two starts to that showed she was starting to progress and she looked to lack a little speed, so up to this trip may suit her and eek out that extra bit of improvement.
Black Truffle (E/W if 9/2+)
We have a break for a few hours before our next selection runs in a Class 4 handicap at Sandown.
William Haggas’ Wekeyll is the least exposed of these only having had two starts. The form of his debut fifth looks ok with the first and second being consistently placed in handicaps without winning while the third was found an easy maiden to win. On his second and latest start he won a Windsor maiden, from which the second and fifth are two of only a few to run since but they both won giving that form some creditability. He did hold on to win but there could be more to come from him. A slight concern would be his mark of 85 and whether the handicapper has also taken into account the strength of his form.
Sonnetation returned to the turf 11 days ago finishing third at Ascot in what looked to be a truly ran race. Dropping back into a Class 4 could see him get his head back in front after doing his recent winning on the all-weather. He has form over further so a strong pace here could see him with a late challenge at something usually seen as a front-runners track. Voyageofdiscovery has been consistent on the all-weather without winning. Clive Cox’s runner hasn’t won since last June when he won a Class 5 handicap. Off top weight and his mark of 83 is a big ask here.
Roger Varian’s American Artist gets weight from all of his rivals here. His maiden win at Goodwood was over seven furlongs but since then he has shown little over this trip at Epsom and Kempton. He can be keen, which is the negative, but he’ll be kept prominent, which suits this track. Last time out he weakened inside the final furlong to finish sixth of 12. Depending if connections want to build confidence by getting a win you’d drop him to seven furlongs despite his pedigree suggesting he wants further and could just be a galloper.
The final selection comes in a Class 4 handicap over one-mile-three furlongs at Leicester.
Flying Power has a 100% strike rate here winning on both starts at this track. He has run to a consistent level this season on the all-weather but hasn’t won since August. This is the time of year when he is seen to best effect and back at a course he likes plus Jack Garrity’s 3lb claim he could make his way back to the winners enclosure here. Plus that claim takes him back to his last winning mark.
The main threat looks to be Royal Marskell. He won 146 days ago at Southwell when he was last seen. From that race he won the second, Lycidas, has won twice since then and has only been out of the placings once, which was at Royal Ascot. This six-year-old has done most of his running on synthetic surfaces but has two of his six wins have come here. Watch out for him being held up before showing good late speed.
Xinbama has been running in better races than this, so this drop back in grade could see him feature in the finish. Charlie Hills’ runner was second at Kempton on his latest start and has contested a few Class 3 handicaps where he has finished second. He hasn’t been seen for 245 days, so may need this run and be better for next time out.
Lady Of Yue has improved by a place on each start this season. She is one that would welcome some rain to get some cut in the ground and she does need to find more in a slighter better class. English Summer is supposed to be what we are in so a fitting winner on name. However this eight-year-old is now 3lb lower than his last winning mark plus Samantha Bell takes an extra 3lb off for her claim. Richard Fahey is giving her lots of opportunities and she isn’t letting him down. He could be one to back in a place only market.
Flying Power (E/W if 9/2+)