Most of these have some questions to answer but the well-related BENIN had an excuse when favourite on rain-softened ground at Leicester and is a big player if he can recapture the form of his front-running close second over 6f at Redcar on his penultimate run. Sidi Mansour can pose a threat if able to bounce back quickly from his Windsor disappointment.
This looks a bit trappy but it might be worth siding with Q TWENTY BOY, who has run three solid races in defeat this season and shaped as though this step back up in trip could suit when third behind a well-handicapped rival over 5f here this month. The main danger could be four-time course winner Jaganory, who turned things around with his placed effort at Chepstow last week and is well treated if he can build on that.
Pull Harder Con found improvement when a breakthrough winner over 6f at Thirsk and he’s respected off 5lb higher here but preference is for GHERKIN, who has finished runner-up in his last two starts and is on the same mark as for his close call over C&D last Tuesday. Global Acclamation returns from 280 days off but he’s well handicapped on several pieces of form last year and needs checking in the market on his stable debut.
An interesting race in which the vote goes to CHIL CHIL, who was a major improver in the autumn and made it 3-4 in handicaps when surging to victory at Newmarket in her final run last term. Andrew Balding’s filly is 7lb higher here after 300 days off but she still looks feasibly treated and is open to more progress this season. The main dangers are Tin Hat, who has been knocking on the door in both his runs this summer, and Corinthia Knight, who recorded his 12th win when cashing in on a reduced mark over C&D last week.
Preference is for Sir Michael Stoute’s well-bred filly LEHWAIYLA, who showed clear promise in her two AW runs last month and is open to further progress on this switch to turf. Arju was disappointing at Newcastle when last seen in February but she’s a big danger on her Kempton debut form and this step up to 1m should be no problem on pedigree. Another to keep an eye on is the newcomer Bear Attraction, who is a half-sister to two useful winners at up to 1m2f.
The one that appeals most is Eve Johnson Houghton’s lightly raced 3yo ALEZAN, who showed improved form with her bold bid in a 1m Kempton handicap last week and is a major player if she can back that up back on turf. Air Of York recorded his 13th win when scoring over C&D last Tuesday and he’s feared most, though Four Feet still has potential and could resume his progress back at this trip. Others who could be in the mix are Penny Diamond and Clog Na Fola.
Most of these have something to prove on their most recent efforts and while Grimsthorpe Castle has been keeping on well over further at Catterick of late he now has to prove he can handle the combination of 1m2f on firm ground. ESSGEE NICS also stays longer trips but he pulled hard on his recent debut for this in-form yard and still ran quite promisingly so the chance is worth taking on him back at 1m2f, especially as he handles fast ground. Birkie Queen can also have a say.
Derry Boy is 0-17 but he went very close at 1m here last week and is a major player if he can repeat that form at this new trip. Ifton also looks interesting on his first try at 1m2f, while Janus has finished placed in four of his last five runs and should be in the mix again. However, the vote goes to QUEMONDA (nap), who found another good jolt of progress when justifying favouritism at Lingfield on her stable debut and is taken to strike again to make it 3-4 in handicaps.
They were pretty well strung out in behind HIDDEN DEPTHS here at the weekend and he could take a bit of stopping under a 5lb penalty if showing up in similar form. Sufi hasn’t finished out of the first three in his previous visits here (including on firm) and could be the one to give Neil Mulholland’s charge most to think about.
The Racing Post’s tips for Bath today
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