Goddess of Fire is firmly on the progressive path now, improving another chunk to record her third all-weather win of the year over the extended mile here last time. However, she has a 12 lb penalty to carry now, which may halt her in search of a hat-trick, and the less-exposed URBAN HERO could be the way to go. His runner-up effort at Newcastle in September was strong form, and he duly went one place better in first-time blinkers at Lingfield last month, landing the odds in good style. An opening mark of 76 doesn’t look excessive and he is fancied to follow up here.
This looks a very uncompetitive race for fillies and QATAR QUEEN sets a lofty standard. The form of her second career run at Chelmsford looks strong, the winner a smart type, and though she was unable to build on that when only fifth at Kempton last time, that was still in a much stronger race than this. The drop back to seven furlongs now won’t be a problem and it will be disappointing if she isn’t able to break her duck here.
A trappy handicap where it is hard to be dogmatic about any of these, but the one that make the most appeal is PENARTH PIER. Both of her wins to date have come on an all-weather surface, and she had excuses at Kempton on her latest start, going left as the stalls opened and bumping a rival. That put her on the backfoot and she was never able to get into the race. She is worth another chance now from what still looks a workable mark and she has a good draw to work from.
This looks a competitive sprint handicap where several are of interest. Perhaps none more so than CONCIERGE, though. He was a useful juvenile for George Scott last season and has run some solid races in defeat this time round. Concierge has since been sold to new connections for 35,000 guineas at the October Horses In Training sale and now starts out for a yard that have a good record with new recruits, so he makes plenty of appeal from what looks a lenient mark.
CANFORD BAY has a solid record over this C&D and ran particularly well when bumping into a rejuvenated sort last time. He took a strong hold on that occasion and had every chance inside the final furlong, but his finishing effort was compromised by his earlier exertions. He has fared well with the draw here and another bold bid is expected.
Dandilion is potentially well handicapped, but she typically needs everything to go her way, as she demonstrated when finishing runner-up at Lingfield last time, and for that reason she is opposable again. Instead, it could be worth chancing OUR MAN IN HAVANA, who was well supported on his first start for Tony Carroll over this C&D last time. Yes, he will have to improve markedly on that effort to have any chance, but his shrewd yard know the time of day, and they clearly feel he is on a workable mark.
USANECOLT very much caught the eye on his return from a near year-long absence over this C&D earlier this month, showing improved form to be beaten a length in third on just his second start in a handicap. He isn’t as exposed as most he will meet at this level and, provided he goes the right way from that, he should be well up to winning races from a mark in the low 50s.
ENMESHING has a good chance of following up after his victory over a mile and a half at the weekend. He carries a 5 lb penalty but this race looks no stronger than the one he won and he may be able to get the double up.
*Prices correct at time of publishing