Opinion was divided in the aftermath of the Derby, but I believe ENGLISH KING can go some way to restoring his reputation here. He was so impressive at Lingfield in the Derby trial and things just never went his way in the Derby itself.
He had an awkward draw to contend with and didn’t find himself in a great position early. He had to sit and wait for a run when straightening up for home, but once he got out and flew home to finish a never nearer fifth. Had he got out a little earlier, there is every chance he would have finished second.
Subjectivist and Kalifa Set should ensure an honest pace here and I expect Frankie Dettori to produce English King in the final two furlongs to show his potent turn of foot.
In the last 10 years, the Hannons and Mark Johnston have both won this race three times each and there is every chance that Richard Hannon can enhance his record in the race.
RUNNING BACK is bred to be useful being a half-brother to Kool Kompany, who was a Group 2 winner and Group 1 placed as a juvenile and also won the Greenham was a three-year-old. On debut at Newbury over 6 furlongs Running Back was second to Qaader, who ran second in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on his next start. The third from that Newbury race won next time out to add further substance to that form.
Running Back was then second of four at Kempton on his second start and can probably count himself unlucky not to win, as he was last of the four turning into the straight in a steadily run race that developed into a sprint and just failed to get up when beaten by a head.
He starts off in handicaps here off a mark of 81 and that mark is very workable. He holds very solid claims and Paddy is paying 4 places for those that want to back him each-way.
Winter Power is bound to be very difficult to beat after hacking up on handicap debut earlier in the week at Redcar and only has to carry a 6lb penalty here, but I do believe that GOLDEN BEAR starts off in handicaps off a very fair mark of 72.
He has run well in two decent maidens over 6 furlongs and those races have worked out nicely. On debut at Kempton,he finished fourth beaten under four lengths, but he didn’t appear to stay that day.
However, the form has worked out as the first and second won subsequent to disappointing runs in the Coventry and are now rated 88 & 82 respectively, while the third was fifth-placed in the Coventry. The sixth is now rated 77, the seventh is now rated 87 and the eigth is rated 84. All that would suggest that Golden Bear is very well treated off 72.
He appeared to find 6 furlongs stretching his stamina on his second start at Windsor, again in a race that has worked out as the winner is now rated 95, the second is rated 89 and the sixth is rated 93.
Golden Bear has been gelded since that Windsor effort and the drop in trip looks certain to suit. He looks solid each-way and if the favourite finds this race coming too soon after her Redcar win, then Golden Bear might be the one to take advantage.
RED GERRY faces a few decent rivals, but they have to concede a winners penalty to him and that might just swing the balance in Red Gerry’s favour. Very smart on the flat, Red Gerry won a maiden at Tipperary easily beating Rayounpour who is after winning two valuable handicaps this season and will be rated in the 90’s once reassessed.
Red Gerry was placed in a premier handicap at Listowel and then ran fourth in the Irish Cesarewitch off a mark of 84. He was second on his hurdles debut at Fairyhouse last November in a race that has produced a number of subsequent winners and the winner that day Cerberus won a Grade 3 hurdle on his next start.
Red Gerry hasn’t seen a racecourse since that run at Fairyhouse, but if he is fully tuned up for this, he should run a big race. He could easily develop into a horse that could land a nice handicap hurdle in the year ahead.
Felix Desjy is the most likely winner of this, as he showed the ability remained when bolting up in a flat maiden at Navan at the beginning of the month. His novice hurdle form is solid and gives him the beating of Aramon on these terms, but I just can’t resist having an each-way bet on CHARLI PARCS, who is a cliff horse of mine.
On his hurdles debut for Nicky Henderson at Kempton, he bolted up and looked a superstar in the making – but things haven’t gone to plan since. He fell in the Adonis, was sixth in the Triumph Hurdle that season and was more miss than hit the following season in handicaps.
The highlights in handicap company were a second in the Gerry Fielden at Newbury off a mark of 145 and a fourth in the Scottish Champion Hurdle off 144. That was a decent renewal of the Scottish Champion Hurdle with Midnight Shadow winning and the likes of Verdana Blue and Ch’tiblleo behind that day.
Midway through last year’s national hunt season, Charli Parcs switched to Aidan Anthony Howard from Nicky Henderson and the change of scenery seemed to work, as he won at Leopardstown beating Jetz and Mengli Khan. Both those horses won their next starts to give some substance to the form and Charli Parcs gets to run here off a mark of 144.
Howard worked wonders with Winter Escape, who he got with a very similar profile to Charli Parcs, and even he can get the most out of him he has the ability to play a hand here. The application of a hood and Simon Torrens 7lb claim are reasons for giving Charli Parcs a solid each-way chance. Oh, and Paddy is paying six places here too.
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