With only Poet’s Society a confirmed front runner Joe Fanning will be able to dictate proceedings which could be detrimental to the likes of Franco’s Secret, who is often slowly away and Towerlands Park, who probably wants a strongly run mile to be seen at his best. Constantino goes well fresh, won following a break in June at Newcastle and will be more than likely primed for this by Richard Fahey @ 10/1. He is still on a good mark, as is the talented Mr Minerals who has been difficult to train. A reproduction of his victory at Kempton last July would see him have too much for this field but whether he is cherry ripe for his seasonal debut remains to be seen. Two in-form types likely to track Poet’s Society are Humbert and Sea Fox. Humbert @ 5/2 has clocked up a hat-trick since returning from a long absence, including a defeat of Poet’s Society and is clearly on the upgrade while Sea Fox @ 6/1, lightly raced on the all weather is open to improvement after going close over course and distance last week. Chevallier can be forgiven his run in the same race but may find one of these improvers too good.
Veteran course and distance winner Attain, second in this race last year when six pounds higher, has the least questions to ask in the field and should go well @ 10/1 . Yensir, now with Olly Murphy, would have a chance if the change of yards helps but he has no win in sixteen starts, likewise Widnes, no win in seventeen starts and Top Beak, only one win in twenty two starts. Iballisticvin may be open to a little improvement and can go well under Ryan Moore @ 10/3 presuming he is fit having not been seen since October. Betsalottie has done all his winning at class six level but goes well at Lingfield so has to come into calculations while Joycetick may get the run of the race in front and could go well @ 12/1.
Three previous winners of this race, Encore D’or, Royal Birth and Boom The Groom all line up in what is a competitive handicap. Pace could be key as there seems to be a distinct lack of it which could cause problems for hold-up merchants Royal Birth, Atletico and to some extent George Dryden. Atletico is developing a habit of not quite getting there at this level having just missed out on the last three occasions while Royal Birth is slipping to a decent mark but as previously mentioned, will need a strong pace. George Dryden is unexposed over the minimum trip, could have more to offer on an artificial surface and presuming he is ridden more positively, is very interesting @ 15/2. Boom The Groom and Encore D’or are well drawn to track the pace. Boom The Groom does not win very often but is still lurking on a good mark and it would be no surprise to see him go close @ 8/1. Encore D’or ran a cracker last time when held by Gracious John in a listed race when carrying a penalty and go well from stall one @ 5/1 but will need a career best to win this.
Fitness could be key here as the four main contenders return form breaks. Headway @ 6/4, has to be respected and represents last year’s winning trainer William Haggas, shaping like seven furlongs would suit last season. Whether he has enough in hand on the figures or plenty of improvement to come remains to be seen. Lansky looks to have plenty of potential but this fast seven furlongs may just be on the sharp side having shaped like further than this would suit last season. Bengali Boys smashed his rivals in the Super Sprint at Newbury and a repeat of that kind of form will see him competitive @ 13/2. He is bred to get seven furlongs and has all weather winners in his pedigree so is an interesting runner. Mark Johnston is double-handed with Rufus King and Lake Volta, the latter needing to find more but is race fit and cannot be discounted @ 16/1. Rufus King goes well on a sound surface, has form on at Newcastle and produced his best effort in when last seen in a Newmarket nursery back in October. He should be on the premises @ 7/1.
Quickened Clear’s Bests:
Constantino – 1.45 Lingfield – 1pt win @ 12/1
Attain – 2.20 Lingfield – 1pt win @ 10/1
George Dryden – 2.55 Lingfield – 1pt win @ 15/2
Rufus King – 3.30 Lingfield – 1pt win @ 7/1