Although there are a couple of Class 2 events on the AW at Chelmsford on Wednesday, this £17,000 race looks one of the most interesting events of the day being open to four year olds and upwards rated 0-90.
Run over very nearly a mile-and-a-half, the race includes two previous course and distance winners, as well as an in-form candidate seeking a hattrick. The other five contenders all have claims as well raising the prospect of a good race and good value to be found in the betting market.
Favourite New Society
James Bethell’s charge may start favourite (although it’s by no means certain) on the strength of his two wins from his last two starts, including a runaway 10-length demolition of his rivals over this trip at Pontefract last time out.
Sky Marshall missed out by just a short-head recently, Stonific was denied a hattrick when getting no luck-in-running at Chester last time, Newcastle maiden winner Magellan, as well as previous course and distance winners Tawdeea and Sofia’s Rock are others with claims in a tightly knit affair.
(Published 17.00, June 12) – New Society reappeared this term on a mark of 72 and duly won a Catterick 1m4f handicap in good style, incurring a 5lb rise in his handicap mark, but at Pontefract last time the Rock of Gibraltar gelding (who had been very well supported down to 7/4 favourite) stormed to an effortless 10-length win which prompted a further 10lb rise in his rating. This four-year-old is clearly in great heart and improving fast, but he is up in grade and facing better opposition. He may well go very close to defying the handicapper but there may be value to be had elsewhere.
David O’Meara sets a poser in saddling both Tawdeea and Stonific. Tawdeea hasn’t won since October 2016 where he scored off a mark of 102. He drew a blank last term but has come down the weights and returned from wind surgery two starts ago, running respectably last time when fourth at York. He’s been dropped a further 2lb since then to just 87 and is obviously well handicapped on his old form.
STONIFIC won 1-6 for Andre Fabre in France before joining O’Meara in January. He won cheekily by a neck here over the extended 10 furlongs in April then followed up on fast ground at Thirsk over a mile-and-a-half, idling and only just doing enough to score by a head (see below). He never managed to lay a glove on the leaders when fourth at Chester last time, a track that almost certainly didn’t suit, but back here on a galloping course and off the same mark he should go very well under the excellent Danny Tudhope.
— Thirsk Racecourse (@ThirskRaces) May 12, 2018
Sky Marshall rattled off a hattrick on the AW this winter, starting with a rating of just 55, and after a 12 week break switched to turf where he failed by just a short-head to score at Newbury last month. The 7lb rise for that defeat looks harsh, but he cannot be ruled out of the equation. Roger Charlton’s Magellan landed a Newcastle AW maiden in October but hasn’t been seen since. The second and third that day have both won since so the form may be OK, and he starts his handicap career on a potentially workable mark of 77.
Alan King’s William Hunter is on a 21-month losing streak but has fallen to a fair mark and the booking of William Buick catches the eye. It wouldn’t surprise to see him attract market support with the stable in good form over the last fortnight.
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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.