Frontier Fighter might just be the one to stick with in this competitive good handicap for a Sunday. He progressed quickly on the fibresand and polytrack surface in early spring before continuing the upward curve on turf when winning at Ponte on penultimate start over a mile on fast ground before running respectably off 6lb higher mark over slightly further at Musselburgh on soft ground. The return to shorter certainly in his favour and he was conceding a lot of weight all round in testing conditions so should appreciate not quite so much weight on his back and on slightly faster conditions. Hard to think he hasn’t got more to give yet especially with the yard going so strongly.
2pt win Frontier Fighter 10/3 SJ
Easy Term might be worth a chance in this handicap. She won this race in 2012 and made a bright start to 2013 at Pontefract when a pleasing staying on 4th not quite so good last time out in a race that wasnt particularly run to suit but still not beaten far so if this is run more to suit she should go well on just a 2lb higher mark than when taking this last season. Yards runners are running well at present and she is more than capable with soft conditions also to suit. Not too keen on the short favourite Sir John Hawkwood who won at Chester last time out quite nicely but that was under a very smart ride from Moore and Chester form often doesn’t stack upto much so very wary at this stage.
2pt win Easy Term 7/1 bet365
The Braveheart Stakes always brings a good field up north and similar story this year. I am particularly keen on the slowly progressive Voodoo Prince. He finished 3rd in the November Handicap off a mark of 95 and is now running off 97. He won a minor conditions race at Ripon last time out but that form is working out really well with the 2nd running a great 2nd this week at York in a big field handicap. Ground conditions look ideal and is clearly going the right way with age and looks one to stay on the right side of. Yard had a couple of winners and no better jockey up north than Lee.
2pt win Voodoo Prince 4/1 bet365
Sounds Hearts is the interesting one in this listed handicap, it is a tight affair but she is clearly progressing nicely and alsong as fit to do herself justice she is very interesting. Roger Varian yard going really strong at the moment and they know how to ready their runners for their seasonal reappearances. She won 2 handicaps last season over 1m2f on fast ground and good ground latest off 85 before being dropped into the deep end in listed stakes race where she ran a bold front running display on soft ground at Newmarket, finishing just 1 1/2lengths adrift of the winner Polygon. Has to run off 97 today so tough ask but reports are she has strengthened up over the winter and returns over a shorter trip so would be no surprise to see her ridden aggressively with some cut in the ground, Buick also an eye catching booking for yard he is currently 3 from 7 with this yard over past 5 seasons.
1pt e/w Sound Hearts 9/1 coral
Tartan Gigha is a horse that often catches my eye throughout the year. He ran a very good race 2nd run back last time out, staying on behind 2 dead heating winners, clearly building on reappearance. Gets to run off the same mark tonight which is now 4lb below his last winning mark and has won off a mark of 100 at his very best with Mark Johnston. He clearly goes well around this time of year with all 6 of his 8 wins all coming between May and June. He has also won a handicap over this course so handles what can be a tricky course. Last time out he was involved in a small field which wasn’t really run to suit and this return to a big field should suit him much better given his running style.
2pt win Tartan Gigha 6/1 vc
First Mohican may be the one to be with with ground conditions expected to get a lot worse overnight and we could be race on very soft ground and that will suit First Mohican much better than the fast ground he has been declared on. He hasn’t stood much racing for a 5yr old, but won his first 3 starts including one off the back of a 711 days on the sidelines so clearly goes well fresh and no doubt yard will have him ready for this big meeting. Yard are in good form with a jockey ride on a bit of a high to in Queally. He was disappointing on his last start on good ground possible that was an excuse but also possibly the extended trip, drops back in trip today and would expect ground to come right aswell and clearly still progressive with more too give you have to think despite being 12lb above last winning mark when very impressive.
2pt win First Mohican 6/1 boyles
Mey Blossom might be worth a punt at a huge price. She went a long time without a win but caught the eye several times on the AW before finally getting her head back in front at Wolves off a mark of 55. She than ran 2 good runner up efforts last one off a mark of 60, ran a bit of a stinker after that and was then off for 3 months after that to suggest maybe she had enough or something was wrong. Never got involved in comeback run at Donny last time out but can be expected to come on for that run and handicapper taking a real chance dropping her to 57 and a very capable 5lb claimer also takes over who is 1 from 1 with this yard and that was in last 14 days so yard appear in some sort of form. She remains dangerously well handicapped having won off marks in the 70’s and even 80’s in her younger days, ground with some cut shouldn’t be problem having won on good ground in the past aswell as fast ground. Very interesting runner and overpriced at 18/1 in my opinion!
1pt e/w Mey Blossom 18/1 vc
Gonna stick with Shalambar who was an impressive winner at Kempton when last seen on the flat and followed that up in an hurdle handicap. He steps up in trip by a further 3f today and a 5lb rise, yet to win over further than 1m4f but does have form over further. He often holds his form well and stable continue in good form with Hughes looking a very strong booking for this yard. Any rain shouldn’t be a problem but can handle fast conditions too which might key.
2pt win Shalambar 7/2 hills
Gonna give Cruiser another chance he is not straightforward and looks a bit of a monkey travelled well last time out at Lingfield before being caught flat footed and was then propelled forward when Mias Boy came past to narrowly be denied. He is drawn wide here today but he will be held up so that shouldn’t inconvenience too much if the breaks appear and they go hard enough up front which you would expect in a race like this. He gets to race off a 10lb lower mark on turf but is clearly in good from and could take advantage of that and he does have form on turf off marks in the 80s so a mark of 75 looks very lenient and he looks a danger to all! All best turf form comes with some cut so the already good ground should be fine with heavy showers due before racing today could suit aswell.
2pt win Cruiser 7/1 bet365
Australia Day has a pretty dismal record fresh in recent years so can easily be excused last flat run at Kempton in April but put that behind him to win a handicap chase in good style last time out off a mark of 140. He has also won at listed level over hurdles and is an extremely useful multi purpose horse. His last flat win came off 90 at Sandown with some cut in the ground, he also has placed form off marks in the high 90s so a mark of 85 looks very lenient and he could be a tad overpriced at 9/1 should go well especially if Ascot get a shower or two aswell. Has also run well at this course in the past.
1pt e/w Australia Day 9/1 SJ
Really disappointing line up of just 4 runners considering the prize money available but a good opportunity for Educate to regain the winning thread.
You would expect Vasily to tow this lot along and get a reasonable lead although Educate can race keenly and they may just let him bowl out in this sort of field. Sheikhzayedroad is reliant on them going hard upfront and that would be the risk attached to him at a short price, he was impressive last time out but that form has been knocked twice recently with both the 2nd and 5th disappointing last time out so an 8lb rise rise could be enough.
Educate won on seasonal debut finishing off a hatrick up 5lb for that effort and was never going an inch last time out, has bounced back before from disappointing and no surprise to see him get back on track with a race likely to suit with just the 4 runners.
2pt win Educate 10/3 sj
I think Jamesie may be the answer to a very tricky Victoria Cup, he is drawn in the middle so he hopefully sit on the outside of one of the likely 2 groups. He won his race in last year Buckingham Palace Stake behind Eton Forever off a mark of 92, now runs off 96 and he made a very good return to action at Dundalk last month and he looks to remain on a very workable mark in a competitive heat. Although most form has come on softer ground although has little else to race on the last 2 years but has run well on fast ground before so shouldn’t be a problem!
1pt e/w Jamesie 14/1 bet365 (5 places)
I am going to stick with Colonel Mak here. He has been a big handicap winner several times off a mark of 98. He had a quiet season after his handicap win at start of season, did bag a conditions race at Hamilton half way through. He has since been given a chance by the handicapper and there was slightly more life last time when travelling well at the front end before fading under a fairly kind ride. Handicapper dropped him yet another 2lb and has now dropped to a mark of 90 and has now dropped to lowest mark since 2010 and yard have been in the winners enclosure and Ryan Moore a strong booking surely has to go close.
1pt e/w Colonel Mak 11/1 coral
Hard to really assess Enzaals form not sure he has beaten much in 4 maidens and certainly last time out when he won his maiden doesn’t particularly look strong form. Is going to need to improve again today on first try on turf aswell.
Pearl Castle is lightly raced and ran a respectable race on seasonal debut at Windsor handicapper taking a real chance dropping him 2lb and getting a handy 3yr old allowance aswell. He has also won around here over a mile last year so handles course has to have a good chance.
Lucky Henry was 2nd on seasonal debut but he was still 4 lengths adrift of the winner, does atleast get to race off the same mark but will need to step up on that effort and if the rain gets into the ground at Goodwood he might not be upto this.
The more rain the better for Charitable Act, he won off a mark of 70 last year and ran a great race on reappearance last time out off 75 and although a 3lb rise makes things tougher he looks to still have some improvement in him yet. Yard remain in great form at present.
2pt win Charitable Act 5/1 VC
Proofreader has something to prove after flopping on handicap debut when last seen, clearly has talent with big yard continueing with him but one to watch especially from a wide draw.
Swing Alone won last time out but is yet to win on turf and a wide draw from stall 9 not helpful off a 3lb higher mark.
Spirit Of Law another that won last time out a 4lb rise not excessive but this is a much stronger race and will need to step up on that and also possibly softer ground to contend with.
Star Links looks a huge price at 20/1 it looks as though weather conditions will get worse as the afternoon goes on and the ground could be very open by the time we get to this race and he will not mind sticky ground one little bit, he remains in good form at present having won his first turf start of the year and held his form since with the hood and blinkers fitted and hard to think he has been brought over here without a chance and 20/1 could be a huge price aslong as he is over his last run 4 days ago also well drawn in stall 3.
1pt e/w Starlinks 20/1 bet365
Christine Dunnett holds a strong hand here with 3 runners and 2 of them are more than capable of winning here in Danzoe and Speedyfix who has been in good form recently but creeping up the weights without winning recently and now requires just about a career best effort.
I am gonna take a chance on Beauty Pageant who has yet again changed hands and returned to Brown who appeared to get her to run a good race on the AW before being switched to Evans yard. She has been rather more miss than hit on the AW since but has been given a massive chance by the handicapper now 17lb below last winning mark and a return to 5f under fast conditions ideal and would be no surprise to see her go well.
2pt win Beauty Pageant 4/1 bet365
Llewellyn is hugely consistent but finds winning these days extremely hard and he remains yet to win in a handicap in his career and therefore has to be opposable.
Snow Bay looks the safer option he has ran 2 great races this season thus far building on his reappearance last time out when bolting up by nearly 3 lengths. Although a 7lb rise looks harsh on the face of it he is still chucked in at his best having previously won off a mark of 87 and runs off 80 today, Teasedale keeps the ride and well drawn again. Although the win came on good ground he is versatile as far as ground goes having won on good to firm and also good to soft so ground cannot be used as an excuse.
2pt win Snow Bay 5/2 vc