That race has thrown up one or two winners since and there should be further progression to come from a horse drawn nicely for a front runner. Copper Knight hung his chance away at Windsor (Awesome Allan 3rd and awkwardly drawn today) but that shouldn’t be an issue here given the contours of the track, while Letmestopyouthere ducked left at Nottingham but bolted up once straightened up and should be on the scene.
John Gosden seems happy to waste a fair handicap mark for Pursuitofthestars, a tactic which has paid dividends in the past. She made all to score at Chelmsford in style and could be the one with the target on her back late on.
Steve Rogers, a course winner over two miles, has been handed an attractive draw and deserves his pitch at the head of the market given his profile and manner of his comeback win on a synthetic surface at Kempton. He is a difficult horse to knock given he evidently likes a tight track, stays well, is nicely berthed and appears to be one of few runners in the race capable of leaving his handicap mark behind. The trouble is, the layers know it too and the value was eroded from his price once the draw was made.
Instead, an each-way wager on John Reel at around four times the price could prove fruitful given he was only beaten five lengths by subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris in the race 12 months ago. David Evans’ charge was poorly drawn that day in stall 15 with rider Adam Kirby forced to use up a lot of his mount’s energy to gain a decent pitch from that wide berth. It was to his credit the selection was only headed a furlong from home and Kirby should be able to ride more of a patient race from stall five today.
Although now rated 104, GANG WARFARE (Best price 12-1) is worth a chance to display that he is far from a one-trick pony and a prestigious turf handicap is within his capabilities. The Northumberland Plate on Newcastle’s new Polytrack course looks tailor-made for him but he can make a mark on this event first.
Although now rated 104, MUKAYNIS (Best price 7-1). The selection has a good record with Shane Gray on board (1814172312) and his two wins over the minimum trip have both come at Wolverhampton which is also a tight, left-handed track. He was slowly away before making the ground up quickly at Kempton and there was no disgrace in a narrow defeat at the hands of Dougan who was a fine third in a hot Newmarket handicap on Sunday. Growl, whose yard won this last year, and Kimberella, who showed bright speed when racing alone at Ripon in the race won by Avon Breeze (Growl 4th), are others to consider.