A two-mile stamina test for four-year-olds and upwards rated 0-90 run on this notoriously challenging and undulating track.
The £20,000 in prize money has attracted an interesting field populated by one or two progressive younger stayers and a batch of familiar faces who are proven at this level. Ian Williams saddled last year’s winner London Prize and is represented this time by Faithful Mount.
May edge favouritism having done it nicely last time at Salisbury giving the impression this two mile trip may bring about fiurther improvement
Marcus Tregoning’s Imphal looks a big danger to the anticipated favourite, while the in-form Mancini, hattrick-seeking Chivers, and All Weather specialist Inn The Bull are others who will have their supporters.
STANLEY appears to be getting better as he matures. Richard Hughes’ five-year-old is out of a half-sister to an Irish St Leger winner and a Doncaster Cup winner so the pedigree is all about stamina. Winner of a 1m4f Kempton maiden in October, the son of Sea The Stars was unlucky not to score on his seasonal return at Doncaster in May, but made no mistake at Salisbury a fortnight ago where he stayed on strongly to win over 1m6f. The extra two furlongs here may bring about further improvement and off a 4lb higher mark Shane Kelly’s mount looks worth having on your side.
Imphal won over course and distance last season and went close off a 12lb higher mark when beaten a length into third here a couple of weeks ago. He has been raised a further pound so on the face of it has work to do, but he was hampered early last time and had to work to get involved so with a clearer run this time rates a definite danger.
Johnnie Portman’s Mancini is two from three this term having won over 1m6f on the AW at Chelmsford before scoring over two miles on turf at Lingfield. He held every chance at Haydock last time but the 13lb rise in the weights for those two wins proved his undoing and he could only finish fourth behind The Grand Visir. He won’t be far away, but may just be in the grip of the handicapper now.
Inn The Bull was race fit when he beat Stanley over a mile-and-a-half at Kempton on the AW in March and despite being better off at the weights is unproven at this trip, while Faithful Mount, who represents last year’s winning stable, and Gavlar, winner of this race back in 2015, both need to improve on recent efforts to figure. Bottom weight Chivers bids for a hattrick after wins at Salisbury and here last time over 1m6f, but this is a much higher grade and he will do well to get among them off a 5lb higher mark.
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Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.