As he proved again at Kempton last weekend, THE LAST LION (best price 5-1) is taking his busy campaign all in his stride and being as he’s one of two who has C&D winning form next to his name, he warrants the utmost respect in this Group 2 prize. The way he quickened away from the well-fancied and impressive previous Thirsk winner, Koropick, was something to behold and given that was his eighth race of the season since scoring on the opening day of the campaign, you have to doff your cap to Mark Johnston’s juvenile. Prior to that smart performance at the Sunbury track, the son of Choisir was a creditable third in the Gimcrack at York and with form on a variety of surfaces, it would come no surprise to see him go well again despite a slightly worrying draw in box 11.
Of the outsiders, EQUIMOU (best price 20-1) is worth more than a second look at the early prices following a tremendous effort against the older sprinters over this C&D on day one of the meeting. Staying on well from the unfavourable part of the track, Robert Eddery’s inmate did extremely well to finish within three-quarters-of-a-length of the eventual winner Priceless at the line and a repeat of that sort of display could see him nick a place at the very least.
Given that hold up horses are finding life extremely difficult to come from off the pace at Kempton at the moment, the winning performance of CLOUDBERRY (NAP) (best price 7-4) last week deserves to be upgraded and he rates one to keep on side while still in this rating band. The other notable feature of that race at the Sunbury venue was the time posted by the winner and as the race was an apprentice handicap, Roger Charlton’s charge gets the chance to run off the same mark seven days on.
Nigel Tinkler’s team continue to flourish of late and NORMANDY BARRIERE (best price 5-1) is fancied to keep up the good work for the Yorkshire handler in the concluding handicap. An impressive winner both visually and on the clock two starts ago at Haydock, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar posted an equally smart performance when a staying-on fourth in a red-hot handicap at Ascot last week and given that he was one of the few that made any discernible headway from the back of the field that day, the extra rise in the ratings he picked up seems justified.