Melose Boy is an interesting runner if taking his place here. He has made the frame in all seven races over hurdles, winning two and running well in defeat when he hasn’t won. Both victories have come on soft or heavy ground so forecast conditions should suit and he is taken to be involved at the business end of the race again here.
Indian Hawk is two from two with Daryl Jacob in the saddle and should also be suited by conditions, while The Dubai Way is unbeaten over hurdles and has winning form in point-to-points so should be capable of taking the step up in trip in his stride.
Melrose Boy (E/W)
With six of the last ten renewals being won at odds of 5/1 or less, and only one winner at odds of over 10/1, it seems prudent to concentrate on the head of the market. The early favourite is Original Choice who won on only previous visit to Wolves when winning over seven furlongs, and has won and placed over today’s trip when racing on turf. With Ryan Moore taking over in the saddle a big run is expected.
Big Country is two from two when racing on an all-weather surface and although had a couple of disappointing runs towards the back end of last season he has had a decent break since and won on re-appearance last season so fresh looks to be the best time to back and as such he is the selection here.
At an expected bigger price Pactolus is also worthy of a mention. A multiple winner over course and distance and some solid runs when placed of his current mark he is considered for each way purposes.
Big Country (WIN) – NAP
Call Me Lord is unbeaten in two over course and distance and is three from five overall over todays’ trip. He was beaten at Grade 2 level last time out but is re-united with jockey Daryl Jacob who has an excellent record at the course and has winning form when riding the five year old so looks to have a decent chance of making the frame at the very least.
There are a number in form runners contesting this race, with Le Patriote, Whatswrongwithyou, Highway One O One, Castafiore, Octagon and Birch Hill all arriving on the back of victories last time out. The most likely to follow up looks to be Whatswrongwithyou who has won his last two including when beating two subsequent winners last time out. Having made the frame in five from six over a two mile trip he should be capable of another big run. Both Nicky Henderson runners look to have strong chances and the forecast wouldn’t be out of the question, although based on the early preference slight preference is for Call Me Lord.
Call Me Lord (E/W)
Unbeaten in her last three, with one coming in a point-to-point and the latest two coming in bumpers, Duhallow Gesture has shown that she has both speed and stamina and could prove tough to beat despite carrying a penalty if handling the forecast conditions.
Posh Trish looked a horse to follow when taking her tally to three from three with victory at Cheltenham in November, although struggled at Ascot when last seen. She has had a couple of months break, is proven over the trip and has also won in testing conditions but also has a penalty to carry so may be best watched today.
Queens Cave won impressively in heavy ground on rules debut, after putting in a similarly commanding preformance in a point-to-point before moving to David Pipe. Open to further improvement and showing plenty of promise, she is the selection here.
Queens Cave (E/W)
Salateen was a 25/1 winner of this race last year and returns to defend his crown. He has struggled against some top class performers at Meydan since the turn of the year but has an overall excellent strike rate over seven furlongs and has to be considered.
That said, Second Thought is unbeaten in three on tapeta and five overall when racing on an all-weather surface. Ryan Moore takes the ride and has a 35% winning strike rate when riding for William Haggas so it would be somewhat of a surprise if the favourite is beaten here.
Second Thought (WIN)
Shanroe Santos won this race last year and warmed up for this year’s renewal with a thirteen length victory at Carlisle last month. A new rating of 135 will undoubtedly make things tougher but he has an excellent record both over the trip and in testing conditions and this doesn’t look the strongest of races so he is taken to follow up his 2017 victory in this race.
Tanit River won over course and distance on soft ground last month but took advantage of a reducing mark to gain victory and has been upped 5lbs so doesn’t look the most obvious to follow up.
Pete The Feat has made the frame in four from seven over course and distance and had been in decent form prior to pulling up at Exeter last time out. At fourteen years old it could be that age is catching up with him but a return to his favoured track could help and as such he is respected.
Shanroe Santos (WIN)