ALMQVIST is bred for much longer trips, but he has shown plenty of speed in recent starts, and left the impression his latest run at Lingfield didn’t get to the bottom of him. That was his handicap debut, and he was beaten only half a length in second without being unduly punished. The longer straight at this track will play to his strengths and he looks a big player from the same mark.
This looks an open race for the grade, and it is BROUGHTON EXCELS who is taken to come out on top. He has been well backed on several occasions since winning at Chelmsford in September and again shaped well back at that venue last time, doing well to make up so much ground given his position relative to the first two.
He is clearly competitive from this mark and looks sure to give another good account.
The well-bred PUNCTUATION wasn’t fancied in the betting but shaped with plenty of promise when runner-up to a potentially smart sort over C&D last time and looks the one to beat with that experience under his belt. He left the impression that the emphasis on speed didn’t suit on that occasion, but should get a stronger gallop to aim at in this bigger field, and he looks well up to winning a race of this nature.
This looks competitive, but SHERPA TRAIL has done nothing wrong in two starts to date, showing improved form to maintain his unbeaten record at Wolverhampton last time, and the runner-up has since franked that form by winning since. He makes his handicap debut from a mark that doesn’t look excessive, particularly as there should be even more to come from him, and he is preferred to the thriving mare Agent of Fortune.
RAIL DANCER hasn’t been with Phil McEntee long and he is well handicapped on the pick of his form, now 5 lb lower than his last winning mark. He confirmed his return to form with the visor back on (retained) when runner-up over a mile and a half here last time, paying for racing too keenly early in the closing stages.
The drop back in trip will suit with that in mind, and he looks capable of going one place better.
PHOENIX STAR was prominent in the betting and had excuses when only fourth over this C&D last time, slowly into stride (slightly hampered) and always on the back foot thereafter. He looks well treated at present – just 2lb higher than his last winning mark – and stall one plus the booking of Silvestre de Sousa make him of plenty interest now.
MOUNT WELLINGTON has been revitalised since joining Stuart Williams, notching a couple of wins at Wolverhampton over the winter, and must be taken seriously back into 0-65 company with the hood back on. Bullington Boy has produced solid efforts in eye-shields this year and is of interest from this kind of mark, while Waitaki and Violet’s Lads aren’t without hope, either.