This three-year-old contest features a bullish winner's purse of £25,520. Nine horses take part: one gelding, six colts & two fillies.
Ratings from 85 - 104.
Many punters will start and finish with Second Thought. William Haggas' son of Kodiac was a great yearling purchase at 70,000G. He finished second on debut when in need of the run. In truth, that was a hot race and this bay colt would have won if more experienced. He won well next start when stepping up to 6f at 4-11f. Leading on the bit, winning easily, connections knew they had a talent. The most recent effort at Kempton detailed a serious prospect when beating another of today's contenders Sutter County. Second Thought chased after Johnston's charge, leading in the last 50 yards to win by a neck. This step up to 7f looks made to measure.
Sutter County made an impact when storming clear of the field on debut by eleven lengths. This son of Invincible Spirit won next start too at Newmarket but suffered an injury in the process which saw him off course until August. This bay colt looked to have lost his way for a couple of runs but found his stride to go well in his last five starts. Sutter County was favourite to beat Second Thought but couldn't hold the late charge. This February foal was beaten by old adversary Tomily at Lingfield, after beating him well when denied by Second Thought, which detailed Hannon's horse was in need of the race that day. His most recent outing at Kempton proved an easier test when winning at 4/7f. He was rated far superior and the equivalent to a drop in class. A prime draw today will give Fanning options on this front runner. Stepping up in distance may bring about improvement. However, on his performance against Second Thought, it may be questionable. Such is the prize money, his trainer may feel it is worthwhile. I wonder if they will try to steal an easy lead and hang on to grim death.
Marquee Club was held when fourth that day.
Grey Britain has one win to his name after eight starts. This grey son of Arcano hasn't been disgraced running at Group class. John Ryan's horse has experience over this distance which is more than some of the major fancies. A wide draw isn't the best starting point. Cheek pieces are applied. Should be fit and well racing just ten days ago.
James Tate is a talented trainer who has done well with Saeed Manana's string. Volatile is a son of Poet's Voice and inexpensive yearling buy at 45,000G. He ran well on debut at Newmarket last year when priced 33-1. Then returned one month later to win at Chelmsford. He won very easily, being nudged out, although that was at auction class. The second best that day has a rating of just 74. If betting this colt, you are siding with potential rather than cold, hard form. That's the gamble. At this proven level, I would rather stick with the guaranteed form horses but respect the trainer so it wouldn't be a shock to see a bold show.
Another horse who hasn't been seen since winning last year is Roger Teal's High Acclaim. He won well in his second start at Lingfield, then most recently at Pontefract. However, this son of Elusive Quality has been kept to handicaps. An official rating of 86 is an all-time high but this looks a serious test.
Denis Coakley doesn't have the biggest string but capable. Annie Fior finished fourth on debut at 50-1. She won at 16-1 but needs to improve markedly.
The other filly, Tisbutadream, has been in great form for David Elsworth, who has placed this daughter of Dream Ahead well to win in her last three starts when stepped up to one mile. She has risen in the weights from 67 to today's rating of 85. A progressive filly who steps down a furlong today. She needs to find further improvement.
Ralph Beckett fields Dr Julius No, who has won twice in four starts. Most recently beaten favourite when denied by half-length at handicap class.
Conclusion: Good money for this race. It looks a fine opportunity for Second Thought to win. He caught Sutter County over 6f and it would seem likely Haggas' charge could do the same with more to spare. One of the major aspects of assessment is trying to equate whether even money is value. On form and ratings the horse to beat. A progressive individual who should enjoy this stiffer test although that in itself could be a slight question mark. If winning well, could be a fair pattern horse in the making. Sutter County is a determined horse. It is great to see him progress from those days of injury. I wonder if Johnston is chancing his luck over this extra furlong. Will he try to gain an easy lead on the rail in an attempt to steal the race? You have to think Second Thought has an ace up his hoof. If you fancy the rest of the field you are banking on potential over proven form. Volatile won with ease at auction class but this is a big step up in grade. A race to savour, but a watching race unless the favourite drifts to make it value. Time may tell whatever odds he is a mighty bet.