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Miss This Lingfield Runner At Your Peril!

The cold snap continues to claim fixtures on a daily basis, even the all weather fixtures, but Lingfield looks highly likely to survive a morning inspection and we’ll go there for Saturday’s preview.

The 3.10pm, run over 10f, will now be shown live on ITV4 thanks to the abandonments of Newbury and Warwick and despite being a relatively lowly class 5 race, that TV coverage should make it a much more popular betting heat than it would have been otherwise.

Pace

Over several distances at Lingfield you see a pace bias towards front runners, is that the case over this distance of ten furlongs?

We do see a slight edge towards those closer to the pace but this distance looks a lot fairer than many others. The win percentages and place percentages favour prominent racers but there isn’t much between front runners and those from mid division which gives the majority of runners a very fair chance.

It’s worth noting that those that are held up are worse off for all metrics so extreme waiting rides around here should be avoided where possible.

Of course the pace of each individual race has a huge bearing on any potential pace biases so the pace map for this race should be examined closely.

There isn’t a whole lot of pace in this race and it’s unlikely to be a well run contest that favours hold up horses. Convertible and Amsby are comfortable racing prominently but neither are habitual front runners so there is every chance that prominent is the most advantaged position in this once again.

Draw

This race is run over the same course and distance as the Winter Derby and the Easter Classic on All Weather Finals Day and in those races a high draw is often talked about as a big negative.

There does seem to be a slight disadvantage for higher drawn runners in this field size. PRB (percentage of rivals beaten) is most likely to flag a draw bias and a figure of 0.48 for high draws compared to 0.51 for both low and middle suggests a small disadvantage but no major concerns.

The win percentage figures for high draw runners are a bit more concerning though, only 4.7% of high drawn winners have won in the data sample compared to a 12.39% win percentage for low draws and a 12.18% win ratio for middle draws. The place percentage uses three times as much as the win percentage figures and things are more even looking at place percentage. High draws place 25.64% of the time and that’s only around 6% lower than low and middle draws (which are once again extremely similar) which backs up the impression that a high draw is a slight disadvantage but not a factor that should be used to completely write off a runner.

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Looking at the individual stall data should give some more insight.

Despite a high draw generally being a slight disadvantage, the worst individual stall as far as PRB is concerned is stall 1 with a PRB of just 0.44. This stall 1 issue is found at other distances too (notably 1 mile) and is possibly down to patiently ridden horses from stall 1 rarely getting a clear run.

The poor results for stall 1 will have an affect on the low draw data so the fact that low draws do well on the whole suggests stalls 2 and 3 should be marked up somewhat. Stall 3 in fact has the best PRB (0.56) ahead of stalls 2, 4 and 6 which all have a PRB of 0.53.

The above image is sorted by PRB3, which combines data from the two adjacent stalls to flatten the curve and remove data anomalies. This suggests that a low to middle draw is ideal as long as you aren’t drawn in stall 1. On the whole though no stall should be considered a coffin box.

Pace And Draw Combination

The pace and draw combination graphics on Geegeez Gold are excellent in showcasing possible hidden advantages and disadvantages.

This particular data set seems to show that being on the outside of the field around Lingfield’s fairly sharp circuit is quite the disadvantage and the reason why higher draws tend to perform less well than low and middle. The fact that front runners and hold up horses seem to be better at overcoming a high draw will be down to those run styles being more likely to get closer to the inside whilst high drawn prominent racers and mid division racers will be forced wide more often than not.

The Runners

We’ll take a look at the runners one by one in their early market order, starting with the most fancied and working our way down to any outsiders.

Stopnsearch

Beaten over course and distance on his last two runs but that doesn’t tell the full story for this lightly raced 4yo. He’s had just the two starts at 10f and he’s been a little unlucky in both. On the first occasion he was beaten less than 2 lengths having endured a bit of a nightmare passage in the straight and he followed that up by being beaten just a short head last time out.

He’s only gone up 2lbs for that last effort, which is probably fair given it didn’t look the strongest of contests. He wasn’t seen to best effect off a slow gallop but the likely front runner in this race is the same horse that made the running in his last race so he’s unlikely to get a stronger pace to chase this time around.

He’s clearly a leading contender on his last two runs and should go well again.

Convertible

Hugo Palmer does well with headgear changes and he seems to have found the key now with the tongue tie and visor combination for the previously inconsistent Convertible. He set a steady gallop last time out when 3rd behind Stopnsearch, a horse he also faced on his penultimate start too when he was a slightly fortunate half length ahead of that rival on that occasion.

He was beaten absolutely fair and square last time when getting the run of the race and assuming he gave his full running that day his chance of reversing form probably rides on Ryan Moore getting a better tune out of the horse. He’s capable of running well again but makes less appeal than Stopnsearch, even at the bigger price. Stall 1 may also be a slight concern.

Capla Crusader

Seemed to step up last time out when winning, switching from extreme hold up tactics to making all. He's a possible pace angle again here despite what the pace map tells us having run so well with those tactics employed. That was his second run for a new trainer that day and it seems everything came together.

He very much stole that race by kicking into the bend and although previously rated 9lbs higher he never went close off those higher marks and a 7lb rise for that last win, which probably flattered him a little, might well be enough to find him out. He may be able to get an easy lead once again though.

Avorisk Et Perils

A dual course winner, representing Gary Moore, a trainer who has been in excellent form over the winter. On his latest start he finished half a length in front of Capla Crusader and is now 6lbs better off. Capla Crusader clearly improved from first run to second run for his new trainer but that’s an important form line to note. What’s even more interesting is that Capla Crusader wasn’t the only winner to come out of that race. The winner and the 3rd both won next time out as well plus the runner up was a half length 2nd on his next start. That’s clearly hot handicap form and Avorisk Et Peril was held up in his run a couple of times so can be marked up a little too.

He’s run well here on several occasions and had various excuses for some poor runs here too. He’s run twice over course and distance off this mark, winning one of those and running very well in the aforementioned hot handicap last time. He’s clearly capable off this mark here and could represent plenty of each way value.

Stall 8 isn’t completely ideal and he wouldn’t want to find himself too far back but he’s sat in mid division often enough (including last time out) to suggest that’s how he’ll be ridden in this. Hopefully he doesn’t find himself caught on the outside of runners.

Amsby

Handicap debutant Amsby is the big unknown in this. His first two runs came here at Lingfield and they included a one length 2nd to Group One Power. That horse was competitive off marks in the low 80s last season but those runs were over middle distances and he gave Amsby a beating giving him 7lbs over a mile so Amsby looks only fairly treated off 69 based on that form.

Amsby wasn’t seen for 291 days before being beaten 13 lengths at Kempton in December. That was a decent enough contest but he still ran below par and does need to improve to be competitive off this mark now.

Capriolette

A consistent mare on the all weather that brings course form figures of 1344 into this. She’s been defeated on all three tries over this course and distance but they all came off higher marks in races that have worked out fairly well so it can’t really be said she doesn’t stay (she’s placed over a furlong further at Kempton). She also probably had too much use made of her on her latest run here.

There is plenty of form in the book that suggests she’s very capable of winning off this sort of mark and her ability to run well over a mile could be of use here if there isn’t much early pace. The cheekpieces she’s worn on her last two starts are left off but she’s run well plenty of times without headgear so that’s no real concern.

She’s overpriced here at around 10/1 at the time of writing but looks more of a place only bet in this company.

Aztec Dreams

Second run after a wind op and a 438 day break. Given that break this 8yo ran really well in 5th over course and distance last time out, beaten less than three lengths. It’s difficult to know what to make of his previous French form or how much he’ll improve for his latest outing but he’s not without a chance in this. He will need to improve on his comeback run though.

Bealach

Probably Gary Moore’s second string in this, Bealach went from racing over 12f on polytrack to racing over 1m on fibresand on his stable debut last time out. It’s therefore no real surprise he was an 18 lengths last in that race. This contest will tell us more about his well being but even if he bounces back to form, 10f round here off a slow early pace will probably still be too sharp. One to watch with a view to possibly backing next time out when going up in trip again.

Compass Point

A surprise winner two starts ago over course and distance but far less convincing last time when well beaten behind Capla Crusader. He’s dropped just 1lb for that and would need to run better than his recent win to take this so he’s opposable even if bouncing back to form.

Decompartmentalize

He hadn’t shown much in Ireland before moving to Pat Phelan and he continued that trend when last and well beaten on handicap debut for his new trainer last time out at Kempton at 100/1. Huge odds again here and with good reason.

Verdict

Capriolette is interesting and capable of taking a slightly weaker race than this but this might be a little competitive for her.

Stopnsearch is the obvious one with few negatives and if Covertible and Capla Crusader were to compete for the lead that might set things up nicely for him. He’s short enough in the early betting though.

The one who makes most appeal is Averisk Et Perils at around 10/1 early. I’m a big fan of ‘hot form’ and his latest effort certainly fits that profile with three next time out winners and a next time out runner up from the first six finishers. He’s won off this mark, over this course and distance and if able to get a decent early position he should have as much chance of winning this as the favourite, at much bigger odds and an each way price. There is a fair chance he finds himself wider than ideal though which could be enough to cost him victory.

Lingfield Preview: Bookies Overlook Profitable Trainer Change Angle

Cheltenham's abandonment means three races from Lingfield will be shown on ITV and that includes their 3.30pm, a class 3 mile handicap that looks a nice betting heat despite just the seven runners.

As usual I’ll be looking at this race using the form tools and racecards on offer with Geegeez Gold, many of which can be accessed for free on various days with a free geegeez account.

Pace

I’ve looked at a few different mile handicaps here over the winter and the data shows that front runners can have an advantage.

The smaller the field the less ground hold up horses need to make up in most cases so it’s no surprise that in fields of this sort of size the front runner advantage isn’t quite as strong. The majority of winners in smaller fields here over this distance are held up but they have the worst win percentage record of just 12.02%. This steadily climbs the closer to the pace you get, 18.8% of front runners are victorious here. We also see similar increases in the place percentage and IV metrics as you get closer to the pace.

One thing that is worth remembering is that although hold up performers can be at a disadvantage over this course and distance, Lingfield is well suited to speedier hold up types that have a turn of foot. We saw this a couple of weeks ago when Intuitive won a nice handicap over track and trip. Grinders, that are typically suited to straight courses or long straights and take plenty of winding up tend to do much less well here and are the kinds of hold up horse to oppose.

Looking at the pace map for this race:

Unsurprisingly in a seven runner contest, there is little pace on offer here. Golden Force looks the lone pace angle but he’s unlikely to make it much of a test. He’s led on three of his last seven runs and has been close to the pace in all but one of those. He seems a horse that doesn’t need to lead but is happy to do so when it provides him with a tactical advantage.

Atheeb may well be close up. He had been ridden fairly patiently for Sit Michael Stoute previously but on debut for George Boughey last time out he led in the first furlong before tracking a pretty strong pace. The new connections probably see him as a horse that likes to race handily and it would be no surprise to see him ridden fairly positively again.

The majority of the remaining runners tend to be patiently ridden so there should be little pressure on the leaders here.

Draw

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The data here suggests a slightly peculiar trend:

In seven runner fields here low drawn runners have a PRB (Percentage of Rivals Beaten) of just 0.44 whilst middle and high draws have a PRB of 0.53 and 0.54 respectively. For some reason stalls 1 and 2 both perform much poorer than any other stall in this field size. Now this could be a quirk of the data as there is no obvious reason why those stalls should perform much worse but stall 1 has the worst PRB in field sizes of 8 runners whilst in 9 runner contests stalls 1 and 2 are amongst the three worst stalls for PRB. So there is potentially something in this and Lethal Lunch is stall 1 and Tadleel in stall 2 could be at a slight disadvantage here.

The Runners

Looking at each of the seven runners here in early market order:

Catch My Breath

A winner of his last two starts here, Catch My Breath carries a 5lb penalty whilst jumping up two classes. The impressive Laura Pearson rides but she also rode last time so there is no additional benefit from her claim today compared to last time.

It seems strange that in the very early betting this horse is just 13/8 so he could well be a day of race drifter. He’s a 5yo, off a career high mark going up to class 3 company for the first time. The race he won last time didn’t look particularly strong but he is unbeaten in two course and distance runs and on his only other start here he ran fairly well in a warm handicap over 10f so this course is clearly bringing the best out in him and he can’t be ruled out.

Golden Force

The likely pace angle in the race has been in good form since racing resumed in June, winning 3 of his 8 starts. He’s 10lbs higher than his defeat to Lalania in June which is a race that worked out extremely well with the winner going up 16lbs in the ratings since then, that 10lb rise isn’t guaranteed to find him out based on that run.

His good form since June could be down to the change of headgear to a visor, which he continues to race in here. He’s also seemed particularly well suited to Wolverhampton, producing form figures of 131 there (the 3rd was a close third, beaten less than a length). On polytrack however his form figures have been 499376. He failed to beat a runner home when sent off 11/4 on his only previous run at Lingfield and that would be a concern. The form of the Charlie Fellowes yard would also be a slight concern. He’s not had a winner since Golden Force won a month ago, that run spans 18 runners, 8 of which were shorter than 5/1 so better runs would clearly have been expected for many of those.

Masked Identity

Masked Identity was behind Golden Force on his last two runs at Wolverhampton, beaten 1.75 lengths and 3 lengths respectively. He was unsuited by a slow gallop when beaten 3 lengths and although only 2lbs better off now, he does have claims of turning that form around given question marks over Golden Force’s suitability to this track.

Masked Identity has his own question marks here though. He’s raced 12 times on the all weather, producing 2 wins and 6 top 3 finishes but he’s yet to race at Lingfield. He’s run well in defeat at Chelmsford on several occasions though. His latest when a staying on 3rd over a furlong shorter having met trouble in running and he also finished 3rd last time he raced at a mile there, behind two subsequent winners when rated 3lbs higher. He’s raced at 4 all weather courses and finished at least 2nd at all of them so Lingfield shouldn’t be a worry. He’s won off a 1lb lower mark in the past and although he might be vulnerable for win purposes, he’s well capable of running well.

Lethal Lunch

Some serious questions to answer for this runner. On his stable debut, last time out, he was dropped into claiming company and despite being sent off a 5/4 chance he was beaten 10 lengths. He hasn’t shown anything since finishing 6th in the Wokingham in June and this is his first run over a mile so there are so many reasons he could run poorly. He has won at Lingfield, and is one of those speedy types that could do well if held up over this trip, but his current well being has to be taken on trust and stall 1 is potentially a disadvantage too. One to keep an eye on in the market though.

Atheeb

Surprising to see this runner available at 8/1 in the very early betting. He won over course and distance on his penultimate outing in a race that worked out well. The 2nd and 3rd have both won off higher marks and there were several other winners in behind. He’s 5lbs higher but he won that race cosily and beat other well handicapped runners so is certainly still of interest off 85.

That was his only run as a 3yo. Presumably he had problems and he was later sold, reappearing as a runner for George Boughey earlier this month. He was 6th, beaten almost 5 lengths, so certainly needs to improve on that bare form but there are reasons to think he will. Firstly that looked a really strong race and he probably chased too fast a pace (the pace setters finished 9th and 11th).

There is also the fact he was having his first start in 223 days for a new trainer. George Boughey has inherited 25 runners from other yards in the past 5 years and not one of those 25 runners has won first time for him. A huge 18 of those were single figure prices and 10 were shorter than 5/1 so his horses clearly don’t run well first time when joining from other yards.

Now what is really interesting is 22 of those 25 runners have had more than one run for Boughey and 9 were successful on one of their next two outings so they clearly come on for that first run.

Rossa Ryan has only ridden for the yard on three occasions in the past 5 years and he’s produced form figures of 133.

There is obviously some risk involved given he does need to come on for that last run but the evidence suggests he will, both based on the above data and also the fact that he was a 6/1 shot early for his last race and went off at 12/1.

Mohareb

Mohareb outran his odds two weeks over course and distance when 3rd in a class 2 handicap. That run merits plenty of respect but the winner won by 3.5 lengths and it’s worth noting the 2nd favourite and joint 4th favourites were both below par that day so finishing 3rd might not be the achievement it first seemed.

His record here at Lingfield over 7f or a mile reads 133 and he’d be more than capable of finishing around 3rd or 4th here but that doesn’t make him of betting interest in this contest.

Tadleel

Along with Lethal Lunch he’ll be looking to improve the record of low drawn runners in this. He has been successful over 7f in his career but 7f around Lingfield looks too sharp a test so his defeat last time out here over shorter is forgiveable, for all he was definitely below par having failed to beat a runner home. He was beaten half that distance on his previous run against a pace bias at Chelmsford off a 144 day break so that Lingfield run was definitely a step backwards.

He was competitive over this distance in class 2 handicaps at York in the summer off this sort of mark so he probably doesn’t deserve to be as big as 16/1 early but he clearly needs to bounce back from that lesser effort last time out. That was his only run at Lingfield so perhaps it’s a case of the course not suiting. He’s best watched here but it would be no surprise if he won over a mile in the near future.

Verdict

Masked Identity is capable of running well in this and is probably more interesting than Golden Force due to the latter possibly being better suited by tapeta than polytrack. Golden Force will be one of the better positioned runners though.

Catch My Breath and Atheeb both bring 100% c&d records into this race. Catch My Breath seems really well suited to this course so is respected and he should run well but he’s of much less interest at short odds given he’s facing much better horses here than he previously has done.

Atheeb on the other hand has beaten progressive, well handicapped horses over course and distance and seems to have far more scope to be better than his current mark. The angle with the progression of Boughey new recruits from first run to subsequent runs is a very interesting one and is more than enough to help me favour Atheeb for this contest.

The selection will hopefully track Golden Force early and get first run on the rest of the field going into the straight. Given there is a chance he doesn't improve from last time you'd probably want to go win only even if there were three places on offer so with two places on offer for each way bets it's even easier to decide to back him win only.

Lingfield May Bring Out The Best In Intuitive In Mile Handicap

With so many national hunt meetings being lost to the weather at the moment it seems best to play it safe this weekend with an all weather preview. Fortunately there is a good card at Lingfield including a class 2 handicap over a mile and that is going to be the subject of this preview.

Pace

It’s typically an advantage to be nearer the pace at most courses and that’s certainly the case over this course and distance in this kind of field size.

Leaders at Lingfield over a mile have been profitable to follow blind, producing a WIN PL of 38.22. Win percentage, place percentage and IV all steadily drop off the further back in the field you go which is a clear sign that the nearer you are to the pace here the better.

Although hold up horses have a poor record here with a win percentage of 10.1% and a place percentage of 30.01%, in terms of bare figures they provide almost as many winners as any other run style and more places than any other run style (from more runners admittedly). So although seemingly disadvantaged by the course, the frame will often contain at least one or two hold up performers. There are certain hold up horses that are particularly suited to Lingfield, those speedy ones with a great turn of foot, as opposed to the grinders that prefer big fields and long straights. If you can distinguish between the two you can find the better bets amongst those likely to be ridden patiently.

Just as important as the course pace characteristics is the pace of the individual race.

This certainly shouldn’t be run at a crawl with the likes of Papa Stour and Corazon Espinado in the field. The pair were both ridden with a little more restraint last time out but had led on their previous three racecourse appearances.

Fox Power has led in the past but not for over a year. He is consistently ridden handily these days and a repeat of those tactics looks likely.

Crownthorpe and Intuitive look likely to be at the rear of the field early with both tending to held up in the majority of their races.

Draw

I studied some Lingfield one mile handicaps earlier in the all weather season and came to the conclusion there was no strict draw bias over this distance. In 8 runner fields, according to PRB (Percentage of Rivals Beaten), there is a very slight disadvantage to the middle draws and seemingly an even smaller advantage with those that break from the higher stalls, despite those runners having to track across to the rail before the bend.

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The win percentages suggest low is slightly better than high (middle still at a slight disadvantage) whilst the place percentages, which give us more data than the win percentages, increase slightly the higher you are drawn.

Overall there is very little in it and if there is a draw bias, it is negligible.

Pace and Draw Combination

Just because there is no strict draw bias it doesn’t mean that certain run styles aren’t advantaged or disadvantaged by the draw. What is a good draw for some run styles can often be a disadvantage for others.

The above tells us that the draw doesn’t make much difference for front runners, prominent racers or even hold up performers but it does make a lot of difference for those that race in mid division. It could just be a fluke of data (although we have a decent sample size here using PRB) and low drawn mid division horses seem to have a good record with a PRB of 0.57 whereas high drawn mid division has a PRB of just 0.38. It is probably the case that high drawn runners are able to get closer to the rail with other run styles but are forced to take a wider course and cover more ground if they are both wide drawn and settle in mid division.

The Runners

With just 8 runners set to go to post we can have a good look at the chances of each runner. Here they are in order of their early odds, from most fancied to least fancied.

Intuitive

This is probably the horse the race revolves around. He’s looked a bit of an all weather specialist to date with defeats on all four of his turf starts but a record of 11321133 on UK all weather surfaces (was also unplaced on dirt in Dubai).

Those form figures look even more impressive when you look at the defeats. The first two came just behind Alkaraama who has since rated 17lbs and 14lbs higher than those two runs. The most recent defeats came behind the progressive Ghlayoon when Intuitive was poorly placed and also behind the hat trick completing Misty Grey. What makes that last performance look all the better is that Intuitive was once again poorly placed but ran on well into 3rd after having to be switched and the 2nd, 4th and 8th from that race have all come out and won since.

There is no doubt that Intuitive remains a well handicapped horse but this will be his first run at a mile and simply staying on late over 7f isn’t enough to prove that this trip will suit. The horse’s sire, Haatef, has a win strike rate of 9.69% with all his flat runners and that drops only slightly to 8.51% over this mile trip. The dam was a 7.5f winner and the only other offspring from her has run well as a 2yo over 7f so there are plenty of pointers that suggests this mile trip should be within his reach, especially with Lingfield being a speed favouring track.

Fox Power

A very brief look at Fox Power’s form figures over the past year or two might not suggest he has a favourite’s chance in this but digging deeper shows he’s probably a well handicapped horse.

He hasn’t won since taking a listed contest at Newcastle in April 2019 but he’s clearly had a couple of issues since and seems to be working his way back to form again. After that listed win he was off the track for 237 days before finishing a 1.5 lengths 4th at Chelmsford off a mark of 100. He had the run of the race that day but it was a respectable effort.

Between that run and March he would race three more times, running okay in defeat each time but not looking like a winner waiting to happen off a mark of 99 or 100.

He would then spend another 102 days off the track before reappearing in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, a race in which he was well beaten. He was then well beaten again twice over 10f on turf before finishing 4th off a mark of 94 over the extended 9f at Wolverhampton. The 2nd and 3rd have both won off higher marks since then and Fox Power was closer to the pace than ideal that day so he’s not badly handicapped now off 93.

The main problem for Fox Power may be the surface. On turf he has failed to win in seven attempts, on polytrack he has failed to place in two runs whilst on tapeta his form figures are 131244. His only run at Lingfield was at 7f and although he was only beaten just 2.25 lengths he was last of six runners having gone through the race well but finding disappointingly little. He’s unlikely to run terribly but he looks a better horse on tapeta and could be much more interesting in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton in a couple of months’ time (a race in which he was 4th off 6lbs higher last year) rather than this.

Corazon Espinado

A change to slightly more patient tactics and a drop in class seemed to pay dividends last time out when winning a class 5 handicap by 5 lengths. He won a class 3 handicap a year ago off 85 so isn’t necessarily out of it here off 87 but this is likely to be much tougher off a career high mark (he’s been beaten on all six runs off 86 or 87). He is previously proven over this distance but with this being a furlong further than last time, three classes higher and his mark being 9lbs higher he’s no guarantee to run to the same level again.

A major positive for the horse is his record when running within 10 days of his previous run. He’s won three from four in those circumstances and on that basis should be considered at least very competitive here, for all he might not be handicapped to win.

Crownthorpe

A last time out winner at Southwell and at his best on soft ground or on the all weather. His latest win was off 90 and he’s won off 91 in the past but he’s been beaten in all seven runs off 92 or higher.

The surface is clearly very important to this horse and it was no great surprise that he took to Southwell’s fibresand last time out given his liking for deep ground. Ignoring a run at Newcastle where his jockey fell off exiting the stalls, his all weather form figures now read 332131. However his two biggest losses, distance wise, have come in his two starts at Lingfield where he has finished 3rd twice in fields of seven and five (beaten 3.25 lengths or further in both races).

As previously mentioned Lingfield can suit those turn of foot horses rather than grinders and Crownthorpe may be a bit more of a grinder, less suited to Lingfield than other venues. He’s not terribly handicapped but this course and handicap mark may well catch him out with third or fourth place seeming most likely here.

Lord Rapscallion

One of two here for Stuart Williams and perhaps surprising that he is slightly more favoured early than his stablemate Papa Stour.

Lord Rapscallion will be having just his second start for Williams having moved from Johnny Murtagh in November. On his stable debut he ran a respectable 4th in a Kempton listed contest at 50/1, although given the distances he was beaten by horses rated 105, 109 and 104 he didn’t look to run beyond his mark of 102. He was 2nd in Ireland in a competitive 7f handicap in September off 101 but it's worth noting that the majority of his best runs during the flat season (where he rose 14lbs in the ratings) were under a strong partnership with rider Nikita Kane who had a huge claim. He’s probably never run to a three figure rating for any other jockey and without a claim here he could be vulnerable, for all he has the talents of Cieren Fallon on board.

Papa Stour

Papa Stour is the main pace angle here and he’s seemingly a bit better on polytrack than he is on tapeta (last four runs on polytrack have produced form figures of 1112, last four runs on tapeta have produced form figures of 6628) so Lingfield may well suit him on his debut here. He is probably at his very best around Chelmsford though which suits his front running style extremely well.

His recent form has been strong. He won three starts ago at Kempton off a 3lb lower mark, beating a next time out winner in Diocles Of Rome, so he’s not handicapped out of this off 91. He’s probably vulnerable to something a bit more progressive but there is absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t run very well, especially if Corazon Espinado allows him an uncontested lead.

Mohareb

Possibly equally good at 6f and 7f which does raise some question marks over the suitability of 1m on just his 2nd attempt at the distance (previous go was his 2nd start on a racecourse when finishing 4th in a novice race). He was a couple of lengths ahead of Intuitive behind Ghalyoon at Chelmsford in November and is now 1lb better off but Mohareb was seen to much better effect that day than Intuitive and isn’t as likely to back that up over the extra distance, for all there are stamina doubts over Intuitive too.

He was below par last time out here at Lingfield and although he is probably in with a small chance here, and may well out run his odds, it would be a surprise if he’s well enough handicapped or strong enough in the finish over this trip to get his head in front.

Mission Bay

Difficult to weigh up on his debut for Marco Botti having previously raced in Italy. A mark of 100 does seem fairly stiff for what he has recently achieved and he’s probably going to need to drop a bit in the handicap before being competitive.

Verdict

Given the doubts about Fox Power and Crownthorpe on this surface I’m inclined to think the win shortlist should be Intuitive, Corazon Espinado and Papa Stour. I don’t think the latter is well enough handicapped to win this but his record with a very recent run is worrying if looking to oppose him.

Intuitive and Papa Stour definitely look better handicapped and if going off the pace data you’d be much more inclined to back Papa Stour, who is likely to lead, rather than Intuitive who is likely to be settled in last. However Intuitive looks to have the turn of foot that will make him ideally suited to this course and he’s likely to be a fast finisher in the straight. He’s unproven both at Lingfield and at a mile so is risky at the price but there is more upside to this one than anything else and two and those question marks may well still turn out to be positives rather than negatives. Intuitive therefore gets the nod for a small bet ahead of Papa Stour who still has another handicap in him and Corazon Espinado who is probably best of those who have raced at Lingfield before.