3.20 Lingfield (7½f Classified Stakes)
Has seen better days and may or may not want this ground. Should run well enough but at this stage others are more likely to be better handicapped.
Seems to handle just about any ground, the trip and ground are fine and he should run his race.
Similar conditions when last winning at Newbury last September. Carried on progressing and must be a major player.
Win in May came in very similar circumstances but that was off a mark of 83 and she needs to take a leap forward here.
Given where she is trained, I’d imagine she will be versatile as far as trip and ground are concerned. Easy to see progression here and must go close.
Mark Johnston brings just a couple to Lingfield on Wednesday and he must surely be expecting a big run from this KHAMAARY who is still going the right way. Graphite Storm may be the biggest danger.
3.40 Bath (1m3½f Fillies’ Handicap)
Has won here before but is high enough in the weights these days and may struggle a tad.
High class connections here for this horse primarily. Even for a 4yo Cumani filly she has a great strike rate and as such further progression cannot be ruled out.
Still a major doubt that she stays this far and she remains a maiden after seven starts.
Sure To Explore
Probably doesn’t want this ground on breeding which may stunt her progress somewhat, be she is an unexposed filly who has more to come eventually.
Still a maiden but always in the first four it seems. She’s progressing slowly but surely and has just about the best help available in the saddle.
The bottom one Really Super may be cajoled by De Sousa into another pound or two of improvement, but it should not be enough to get to PACHARANA who still looks to be ahead of the assessor.
6.35 Sandown (1m Handicap)
Not a bad strike rate, but slowly regressing it would seem and far from certain to spring to life here.
David Probert is taking only this ride today for his boss Andrew Balding and they fully expect a fruitful return. The 3yo hasn’t won on turf yet but is progressing nicely, though may find conditions slightly slower than ideal.
Always on the premises but perhaps needs a break in the handicap.
Probably slightly harshly treated by the assessor after a soft ground maiden win in May, but a return to a similar service may bring about some improvement here.
Progressing in a lower grade, doing well but needs to step up on those efforts. May actually find the better class of horses helps his progression somewhat.
Some classy connections have some live contenders here, not least Almoreb and if handling the conditions, Itsakindamagic too. They will both be going some to catch DRAGONS VOICE though who is getting better all the time and may find the better opposition drags him along to achieve more.
7.30 Naas (Dark Angel Stakes, 6f Fillies & Mares Listed Race)
Consistent sort who likes it here but carrying a 3lb penalty in a competitive race.
All of her best work has been done over the minimum trip and this requires a lot more.
Keeps getting better but needs a fairly big step forward here in order to win.
The Aga Khan filly may appreciate this step down in trip and grade and a bold show is expected. No reason she can’t carry on improving over this distance. The 5lb penalty looks a slight anchor to her.
It’s been a very busy season for the O’Brien filly over longer trips than this, her overall profile suggesting she’ll come up short here.
Had a good sharpener at Navan last time and will strip much fitter for that run here. Placed in a Group 3 and with obvious qualities, but more improvement is needed to win this.
Despite the ball and chain of a 5lb penalty there looks to be a lot more to come from REHANA and she is taken to score. Mur Hiba is of interest after her seasonal opener and Only Mine may go well too.
7.40 Sandown (7f Handicap)
Experienced type, loves Newmarket and Ascot but may not put his best foot forward here.
All best form over further than this, but this trainer loves to re-train speedy types. Should take a step forward but I doubt he’s been transformed into a 7f winner just yet.
It’s sometimes difficult to know when a busy Mark Johnston horse is going to spring back to its best, but it often pays to remain positive about them and if this horse takes on more natural progression then he’d still look fairly well handicapped.
It’s been a long time since this one was in winning form, his overall regression appearing to continue unfortunately.
Progressing overall for Roger Varian and can take another step forward here. De Sousa booked, conditions OK and a big run to come.
21 runs without a win now since debut, conditions seem OK for him but very hard to know how he’ll run.
A number of these don’t appear to be very well off in the handicap right now and as such, SULTAN BAYBARS may find that just natural progression at his age and stage should be enough to win this. Thomas Cranmer will be at a similar level if getting back to form which is not guaranteed.
8.10 Sandown (1m6f Handicap)
Belated seasonal debut for the 6yo though he goes well fresh. Could be quite well treated here if carrying on where he left off last season.
Strange to see an Oasis Dream running over these distances but loved the step up to 2m last time and should love it here too. Big chance.
Not appearing at his best right now, stagnated somewhat.
Probably needs this step up to staying distances and is of interest given that he’s still getting better yet has been stepped up by Roger Varian. Yet another who seems to have a few pounds against the handicapper in what has shaped up to be a reasonably hot race.
Probably a typical Prescott improver at this trip and after a season opener at Catterick should be ready to rock’n’roll here. +6
Capable of course, but others seem to be a tad more advanced and with more potential.
Make a note of this race; whatever wins this will have been potentially at least 7lbs ahead of the handicapper and those close in behind may be treated as winners without penalty next time. At least three are of a similar standard pound for pound, with WEST DRIVE getting a tentative vote ahead of Tenzing Norgay and with good runs expected from Slunovrat and Clowance One.
8.40 Sandown (5f Handicap)
David O’Meara’s northern raider will be all the rage here and it’s easy to see why after his close second last time, however it must be remembered that he hasn’t won on turf yet and in fact has shown only modest form.
Karen George’s new recruit looks to have plenty to do here in all truth.
Stable and seasonal debut here, hard to know what sort of shape he’s in and maybe best avoided.
Probably glad of the recent break and should go quite well. Wouldn’t stand a chance in a well contested sprint handicap just now, but this isn’t one of those!
Won 2 from 9, both over the minimum trip and in very different conditions. Looks to be one of very few going the right way and to me is the outstanding candidate on paper.
Given the lack of opposition and the worries of hotpot Alsvinder handling the turf, Steph Hollinshead’s STONEYFORD LANE looks the one to concentrate on and could be good value for the win.