There are plenty in with chances here, as you’d expect in a handicap race full of improving, inexperienced types who all appear to be ahead of the handicapper to one degree or another.
That said some look likely to handle the race conditions better than others and with that, these six make our shortlist for what is a highly competitive event.
Brian Meehan’s runner made a good handicap debut recently at Newmarket when beaten only a short head by Global Storm, with this extra two furlongs and some softer going appearing to be absolutely ideal for the son of Sea The Stars.
Also possessing strong form from his juvenile campaign, Arthurian Fable is much better than a four-race maiden and has plenty in his favour today to enable him to put up a very strong performance under jockey Martin Dwyer.
As a son of Australia out of a Sakhee mare, this mile-and-a-half trip looks perfect and the reason that strong money has come for William Haggas’ runner is that he, unlike many others, has the form in the book and on rain softened ground too.
Second in a valuable one-mile handicap before demolishing a field including a solid rival here over 1m2f in the shape of King’s Caper at HQ last year, Convict is an obvious type but he is running first time out for the year and we can’t say that having gone up 11lbs for winning his sire and dam restricted nursery that he’s hugely well handicapped.
Well supported for a reason this week, Hughie Morrison’s Kipps is lining up for only the fourth time but he has already shown tendencies that appear to show him to be well up to the hustle and bustle of this contest and he has race fitness on his side.
A winner at Lingfield in what now look to be unsuitably quick conditions, David Probert’s regular mount was only just denied at Haydock over a mile-and-a-quarter on similar going to this recently and has been absolutely primed for another big run. He’s one to watch today and for the rest of the campaign too.
Mark Johnston as expected has a number of good candidates for this event and all could run well, however what makes this particular runner standout is that rather than coming into the race via the usual middle of the road novice races and handicaps, he has already rubbed shoulders with some very nice types.
Although he finished the year in slightly underwhelming fashion in 2019, he’d had a busy season which included being favourite for a Listed race won by potential top-notcher Al Dabaran and finishing runner-up to the highly talented Mohican Heights. If he’s not too harshly handicapped, he stands a big chance under Ryan Moore at a nice price.
As a John Gosden-trained runner by Nathaniel, out of a Sea The Stars mare who has just won over 1m3f at Kempton Park the chances of this one are obvious.
Along with that, he has only gone up 4lbs for his latest win which on its own is a positive factor meaning that, should he be as good on turf, he should be right in the mix at the business end of the race under Rab Havlin.
Roger Charlton’s runner sneaks in right at the bottom of the weights here and has the assistance of a jockey in rare form in the shape of Hollie Doyle.
Another son of Australia who’d been running on the all-weather, he predictably took a big step forward when running on turf in winning a mile-and-a-quarter handicap at Haydock recently and he should definitely go on from there, though the 9lb rise he has taken in the weights may just prove to be enough to anchor him for now.
There isn’t one absolute standout this year as it’s very close on paper all things considered, however in the shape of KIPPS there is one horse who has the look of an animal with just about the best form (weight adjusted) and who can yet improve plenty as the season goes on.
Arthurian Flame could be overpriced, as is Mark Johnston’s Subjectivist, while To Nathaniel certainly has the pedigree to relish tests such as this and could be a fair each-way price.