A lung-bursting 2m handicap where seven of the nine runners have won over the trip – so this isn’t over until it’s over. The ability to see out the trip is one of the few things most of the field have in common as some win less than Huddersfield Town, others get trapped out the back only to look unlucky losers when it’s all too late and one or two need everything to fall right to get their head in front.
Warren Greatrex’s Bailarico was a winning machine last season, reeling off five on the bounce, including a victory over course and distance last August. He’s paid for that by shooting up the handicap though and despite running consistently in two defeats this term, can be slow to get going.
True Destiny comes from a Roger Charlton yard in good form and has been plying his trade on the all-weather in 11 runs since a down-the-field debut at Nottingham in November 2017. The form of his most recent win at Kempton in February hasn’t been franked yet – but he’s running well and was just chinned by a neck on his next start.
James Doyle is an interesting booking for hurdler Fields of Fortune who returns after a break but has yet to win a Flat race, while bottom weight Knight Commander is another who runs consistently, but hasn’t got his head in front in 22 starts.
The front-running Akavit is one of the few runners to have won off a higher mark – 72 – when scoring at Pontefract in June 2017, but was a long way behind Bailarico last time. Dagueneau owned by Paisley Park’s connections looks to be fishing to find a winnable race – but this mightn’t be it.
So, it all comes back to the favourite MASTER GREY under man of the moment, Oisin Murphy. He steered Rod Milman’s runner to a convincing victory at Chepstow a week ago and is turned out again quickly under a 5lb penalty. He needs to prove he can now win off an all-time high mark of 65 against better opposition, but the four-year-old could prove the most upwardly mobile in a contest that throws up as many questions as it does answers.
Selection: Master Grey @ 2/1
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