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Preview - 23 Apr 2008

2:55 INTERCASINO.CO.UK STAKES (HERITAGE HANDICAP) (CLASS 2) (4yo+,0-105) Winner £21,808.50 1m2f50y GD-SFT

Longspur (33/1) – Only having his fourth run today and is very lightly raced for a now 4yo. Trained by Mick Easterby who has a good record at this track and has started the season well his unexposed son of Singspiel could be open to all sorts of improvement in handicaps. The drop back in trip from 12 furlongs to the trip he made his racecourse debut over shouldn’t be to much of a problem with his ability to handle ground with cut also suiting, he showed natural improvement over the further trip but that was to be expected as many improve for the experience of first run on the track, so the drop back in trip shouldn’t be viewed as a negative here today.

Rating 101 – The maiden race he won at the back end of the season wasn’t as eye catching as the performance when a decent 2nd to Ancient culture at Newmarket in a hot looking maiden, that form may need improving on against the more exposed and highly tried handicappers in this race, but there is improvement to come from the horse and he results as a very interesting horse on this step up to heritage handicap company on handicap debut.

Tears of a Clown (10/1) – Has been quite consistent for the Osbourne camp and could still be on the upgrade as a lightly raced 5yo. Has shown form at this level last season when winning at Ascot a track that very much suits his come from behind tactics. The class 2 handicaps he won wasn’t heritage handicap class and he may need to improve to win a race such as this which for a lightly raced horse it isn’t totally out of the question, even though he has had many tries on the ground and over the trip, which he is more then capable off. One to keep in mind for a handicap back at ascot at this level and may just have to give way to a more progressive classier rival today.

Rating 107 – The last effort at Ascot behind King Charles in a race in which the winner ran them all ragged wasn’t a bad effort back in September and he should be fit to go at the first time of asking having gone well fresh in the past. Dropped 1lb in the handicap from that run he may be well suited to this galloping track even though a stiffer finish would give him more chance to be produced to win at the right time, Yard hasn’t excelled in winners in these types of races at the track.

Cabinet (2/1) – Another very lightly raced colt from the top yard of Sir Michael Stoute and has to be well respected. Exposed over the trip for a horse that hasn’t had much racing he is suited to this trip highly, the ground has some give underfoot today which he should handle with a degree of his ability, but the quicker surfaces has seen him progress and he may not find enough to land this race today on this slower surface even though he should go well on a track that suits his style of galloping. The yard are renowned for their youngsters doing very well at this track and it isn’t a place they thrive on handicap winners in the past with limited amount of runners, however this transferred race could well boost that record with Ryan Moore getting the leg up.

Rating 106 – Ran well behind the decent handicapper Teslin at Beverley but maybe was found out as a top class handicapper at this level for a 3yo, now older his performance at Chester was a fair effort behind Bucceletti and this could be a nice prep for a handicap back at that sharp track on what should be quicker ground that he improved on last season over 10 furlong as he has a mixture of speed and stamina. May need to improve on that form but is lightly raced and from a yard that can get them ready for first run he should run to around this level again.

Northern Jem (16/1) – This could be the making of the horse who started of quite high in the handicap last season and contested some decent races with a degree of consistency over trips from a mile to a mile and half and could well run a big race at a time of year that he has gone well on a regular occasion in the past. Another that hasn’t been overburdened with racing, he may improve for the ease in the ground having not ran to badly on his only start on ground with juice in when 2yo in a top race at ascot. Now 4 and kept to better ground he is well worth another try on a softer surface being by Mark of Esteem who has sired plenty horses that have enjoyed getting their toe in. Looks well weighted for this race today he has got an eye catching booking in Richard Hughes and the yard knows what it take to win a handicap here and if improving for the second try on a easier surface he could go close in this race today as he looks handicapped well.

Rating 102 – Best recent run was 3 runs ago which he ran well over a furlong further then this at Ripon and that run was followed by a poor effort at Chester behind Cabinet and it may have been that the sharp nature of that track did not suit and is certainly likely to fair better against that rival on a flat galloping track such as this today. The first run back at Yarmouth this season was over eight furlongs which he shaped with much promise for a horse that often skins fitter in coat for first run, so the fact he is turned out quickly (goes well quickly turned out) is interesting and the return to 10 furlongs on this track should improve on that rating.

Night Crescendo (16/1) – Finished the season of well in the November handicap behind Malt or Mash at a big price and starts this season of with a big price on him to win today. Yard are one of the leading players at this track and their horse has a good record at this time of year so it wouldn’t be wise to discount him as a also run without a little bit more digging. Has won races at this level and is potentially well handicapped at this level based on the performance on soft ground at ascot as well as the run at Doncaster which was his most recent piece of form. Another lightly raced horse that is the key to this race it seems, he will improve for rain today and with some forecasted to hit the race it could turn more testing then advertised by post time. Stays middle a variety of distances well and this 10 furlong could well be his most ideal trip, even though the November handicap was over further, but on better ground. This track is ideal.

Rating 106 – The effort in the November handicap was a good sound effort in a race over further ran at a good clip and with the ground more testing today it should be ideal trip and ground for him today, having put up a similar performance when winning over 10 furlongs at Ascot on soft ground. Horse seems to have the stamina for big field handicaps over this trip. Nottingham isn’t as tough to get the trip as Ascot so there is a slight concern, but the more rain the better the chance of readily outstaying these.

Eradicate (7/1) – Been well placed again by Mark Johnston as he once again has plenty in his favour and it seems that they would want to get a win into the horse as his performances this time of year have been top class and with him having the ability to win a handicap at this level he results as having a decent chance. One of the more exposed handicappers he may struggle against more progressive rivals in this race, but should be thereabouts with the ground and trip more then ideal on this galloping track.

108 Rating – Has some of the best form coming into this race today and of the 3 recent performances the run last time on seasonal reappearance stands out on soft ground at Pontefract, this flatter track should play more to his strengths even though he is clearly suited to the stiff finish and with juice still in the ground and rain forecasted he should once again give his running and sets the standard in this race to which the improvers can be judged around.

Best Prospect (10/1) – Heavily campaigned for a middle distance runner and is exposed at this level on the ground and trip so we know what to expect from a horse that has a recent win to his name. Suited to ground such as this as he is a strong traveller and he has some very good form on left handed galloping tracks especially over these kind of trips, certain to travel up well with much in his favour today he may just struggle at this level now as his profile suggest he has started to regress in his form and the recent win was because he had become very well handicapped and may need more at this level now.

105 Rating – Well beaten by Heaven Knows on last flat run last season at this level and benefited from a drop in class when winning at Doncaster last time, which was under very soft conditions that he does very well on, more rain would increase his chances with the trainer making a good living out of handicappers at this track. Over the same trip and on a similar based course he has got a chance under Jamie Spencer, but this level may be just beyond him these days with that poor performance at Newbury fresh in the mind.

Verdict –  This looks a very open middle distance handicap and a good race for the track to host having been transferred from Epsom Downs. Cabinet is a short price favourite at nearly as short as 2-1 and with some minor concerns on the ground being as ideal as fast I would be prepared to look for a better price. Best Prospect is much more exposed and should struggle against improvers at this level despite having much in favour, while Eradicate is certain to go close in this handicap and should be placed. Tears of a clown is one to keep on side of this term and marked up for Ascot, while the handicap debutant Longspur could run well at a price. However he needs to improve as he is thrown into the deep end of handicapping. Night Crescendo and Northern Jem both have solid profiles and should be in with shout in this handicap, both could improve further under these conditions and the bookies have given a more then generous price for there chances today.

SelectionNorthern Jem 1 pt @ 16-1 & Night Crescendo 1 pt @ 16-1

Best of luck all

Well Chief