It's a big day of action and our resident pundit has six bets, including a two-point nap at Wincanton.
GOD WILLING (best price 12-1) travelled really well before being outpointed by El Vip last time out at Leicester, but as the winner has the potential to be a useful staying type for connections next season, Declan Carroll’s charge can count himself a little unfortunate to bump into such a progressive three-year-old. Prior to that smart effort, the son of Arch had captured a competitive Newmarket handicap over a mile, staying on powerfully late on, and in a race sure to be run at a sound clip, his hold-up style of racing should suit the way Jamie Spencer likes to operate.
SHADY MCCOY (best price 16-1) has blatantly failed to see out the mile trip on his last two starts, so he would have a have better chance than his odds imply now dropping back down to his optimum distance. Looking a major threat at Newmarket last week, Ian Williams’ inmate faded into fourth once meeting the rising ground, but at least the way travelled up to leaders suggests he’s still in decent heart at present and he is worth chancing at a big price.
SCEAU ROYAL (NAP) (best price 6-4) was hugely impressive when winning a competitive heat on his seasonal return at Cheltenham several weeks ago and he will take a tremendous amount of beating if he’s in anywhere near the same shape this afternoon. The way he travelled before quickening up the hill at Prestbury Park suggests he’s a much improved performer from the one we saw outpointed in top-quality events towards the backend of last season, and that cruising speed explosive turn of foot he displayed is always worth its pound of flesh around today’s tight circuit.
Although it’s still not in tablets of stone that DUBAI FASHION (best price 8-1) conclusively stays today’s trip (only one sample), the fact she was runner-up in a very strongly-run all-weather contest over a stiff 1m 2f last time gives hope that she has a chance of being competitive on her next attempt. The way she cruised through that race at the Gosforth Park venue also indicates she right on top of her game at present and having won with a bit to spare on turf the time before, Saeed Bin Suroor’s inmate looks to have solid each-way credentials.
SOUTHFIELD THEATRE (best price 10-3) was a hugely promising novice two seasons ago, so it must have been disappointing for connections to see their charge fail to progress in the manner in which they’d hoped. However, he did show he was not quite a total lost cause when finishing a creditable fourth in the Bet365 Gold Cup on his final outing of last season and that piece of form, allied to a subsequent drop in the handicap, makes him such an appealing proposition here. Moreover, one of his best efforts in his novice days came on this card two years ago when he landed the Rising Stars Novice Chase in a fast time and if his handler can get him back to somewhere near that level of form, Paul Nicholls’ charge will be hard to beat with a clear round.
Unoriginally though it may be, CAPE COVA (best price 7-1) is hard to get away from given his overall profile and recent solid form at the track. Following a promising effort on his third outing over today’s C&D, John Gosden’s charge went on to confirm his liking for Town Moor when capturing a well-run maiden two starts later and that teed him up nicely for a crack at an ultra-competitive three-year handicap at York’s final flat meeting of the season. Although he could only manage fourth in that race on the Knavesmire, he gave out clear signals that he would be a major force in similar handicaps thereafter and he went on to confirm that viewpoint with a remarkable performance back at his happy hunting ground on his latest outing. Slowly away from the gates, the son of Cape Cross proceeded to race lazily for the first half of the contest and it wasn’t until the field swung back into the home straight that he began to come alive and switch on to the bridle. Finishing off strongest of all, the long-striding three-year-old mowed down his rivals in determined fashion late on and that performance clearly was enough for connections to switch their attentions to this prize. In order to counteract his lethargic ways, the blinkers have been added to his make-up and providing the new headgear has a galvanising effect, he has a fine chance of providing his Newmarket handler with an amazing sixth winner of this traditional curtain closer.