Big field sprints here are generally a nightmare-ish task for punters and a few of these will probably go down as most unfortunate, the race looks a good one though and I suspect plenty of winners will come out of it. Singeur hasn’t won for knocking on three years now, he’s run creditably on numerous occasions though and did just that when forth in this last season, off a five pounds lower mark. Rebecca Bastiman has her string in good order at the minute so despite his long losing run, Singeur has every chance of running into the places and has a nice draw to work from. Bogart is as frustrating as they come and is another with a long losing run, drawn in the one box today he really should be going very close and is sure to have his supporters. The issue with the likely favourite however is his price despite looking to be the one best in, quite how deep you would want to go with him at short odds when looking at his rather off putting record is open to debate and so he is respectfully taken on. Long Awaited is another talented sort with a long losing run to overcome, he would go very close if rediscovering his best but is another priced up rather too short for my liking. Ladweb is likable and improved greatly last term, he generally goes off at decent prices and despite having to improve to take this, he is a major place player. Top Boy will be fit enough and is entitled to respect and Barnet Fair has chances if on song but the Bastiman challenger looks the value and is handed the vote.
The buzz horse in this is likely to be the Paul Nicholls trained San Benedeto who arrived to in England after placing in a French listed race over 1m 7f. Quite what he has achieved and exactly what we learned from his decisive victory at Wincanton last time is open to question but he is sure to have his supporters and couldn’t be in better hands. Lough Kent is another from a powerful yard but has so far failed to win in seven attempts for Nicky Henderson, his recent second behind a tough handicapper offers hope and despite his questionable attitude, he is a very big danger to all. Minellaforleisure has faced some very stiff opposition since winning a nice event at Wincanton in October and arrives here looking like the type who has been held back for this better ground. The handicapper has given him every chance of playing a part and though he lacks the scope of the market leaders, his current double figure price appeals and he is taken to reward the value hunters. Benissimo is another unexposed sort who could play and although out of form at present, Too Scoops would be very interesting if the market vibes were strong.
Anything trained by Luca Cumani lurking at the bottom of the handicap is worthy of the upmost respect and his Spiriting looks dangerously well handicapped judging on a fine second at Yarmouth on his second start last term, as several of the beaten horses have since gone in. Despite being a heavily beaten odds on shot the next day he always looked the type to do better in this sphere and his chances are clear, market strength would further bolster confidence but several are also interesting. Clive Cox has started the 2015 campaign off well and his Ticks The Boxes whom has twice scored over this trip looks a player. A gutsy winner at Wolverhampton last time, he will likely need some luck in running but his progressive profile and attitude is alluring and he could shrug off the four pounds penalty here. Surewecan is beginning to look a little exposed but his yard can do little wrong, his chance must be respected, a comment that also applies to Navigate who represents a yard that has rather gone under the radar despite churning out some impressive winners.
Ticks The Boxes (E/W)