A typically wide open, big field Knavesmire handicap and once again it will be interesting to see the course that the front runners take as they straighten up for home.
FIRMAMENT may be well into the veteran stage, but he has shown distinct signs of retaining the majority of his considerable ability and the handicapper has given him yet another chance to land a Knavesmire gold medal.
Dropped from an opening mark of 97 this season to 93 (his previous winning mark) the eight-year-old was hampered in the closing stages over a mile here last time out, but is better suited to a fast run 7 furlongs.
There are dangers a plenty as you would expect in such a massive field, but the likes of Three Saints Bay (needs a drop of rain) and fellow old boy So Beloved are feared most.
Another devilishly difficult handicap where the draw will once again be of paramount importance. What cannot be denied is the amount of early pace in the line-up, with a combination of at least eight front runners/pressers.
That shape in the race should suit the still lightly raced JONAH JONES who didn’t really get the run of the contest in a big field handicap at Ascot last time out.
Frankie Dettori takes over from David Probert here and as long as his draw in box number two doesn’t prove a disadvantage, he could get a lovely tow through to the distance before hopefully outstaying his rivals close home.
Bottom weight Music Society looks close to hitting winning form again, while course and distance winner and top weight Soldier’s Minute has his easiest task for sometime.
Robert Cowell is always a trainer to be feared in these big field sprint handicaps and it could finally be the turn of BLUE DE VEGA to come good down the bottom end of the weights.
In similar races at the track he has figures of 0127, that victory coming off a rating of 93. Having started off the current campaign off 88, the seven-year-old has now dropped to 83 and has plenty of pace to chase on his side of the course.
Despite being drawn on the far side, he comes here on the back of a season best effort at Sandown – but this easier track will suit the selection better.
I also have the greatest of respect for the better drawn Aplomb and he could well be worth a saver after coming home spitting fire in the Heritage Handicap over course and distance earlier in the month.
A really good class event for this level and although only nine will line up, this looks wide open. My preference is for another entry who could do with being dropped a few pounds by the handicapper, but whose course form is very good in the context of this event and that’s the Mick Channon trained KOEMAN (each-way).
A course and distance winner off 87 in 2018, the son of Dutch Art has been set some really tough tasks since then most notably in Listed company in Meydan this year and in some of the very best bigger field 12 furlong handicaps since that success.
This will be his first run since February, but he is quite a clean winded horse and this may well be the best time to catch him. Based on his second to Eynhallow in Dubai he has every chance here and gets the ‘value’ nod over the progressive four-year-old Country.
The last named is stepping up in class but is on an upward curve for the hugely in form handler William Haggas.
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