Eight runners are set to go to post for the Ripon Cathedral Handicap (16:20), the most valuable contest on Thursday's card at the North Yorkshire track with over £9,000 on offer to the winner.
The Ed Bethell-trained Nigwa (106) tops the field on Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings after she produced a career-best effort to fill the runner-up spot at Hamilton last time, doing well to be beaten just a neck having been short of room briefly entering the final furlong. She is only 1 lb higher in the weights today and seems sure to go well again, with further progress not out of the question after just six starts for Bethell, who has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag to denote that his yard is in rude health.
Pisanello (105) gained a deserved success when staying on to lead close home at Hamilton a couple of weeks ago, ultimately landing the spoils by half a length in ready fashion. Admittedly, he isn't an obvious type to follow up having won just twice in 18 starts for David O'Meara, but there is no reason why he shouldn't remain competitive from a 4 lb higher mark.
Cockalorum (102) is the other last-time-out winner in the line-up having made all over this course and distance six weeks ago, taking advantage of a much-reduced mark after six months off. He showed a good attitude when challenged to win by a length from Society Red (102) and the pick of his form from a couple of seasons ago suggests he is still well handicapped up 2 lb.
Society Red is in opposition again here, but he needs to bounce back from a below-par effort when finishing last of nine at Ayr next time, while similar comments apply to Poet's Dawn (102), who was beaten only two lengths when fourth behind Cockalorum but was last seen bringing up the rear in the race won by Pisanello at Hamilton.
Baryshnikov (104) showed his wellbeing with a good third in the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar on Monday, running on well from the rear to pass the post just a length and a quarter behind the winner. This will be a quicker-than-ideal turnaround, but he is clearly on a good mark if arriving in the same sort of form, while the return to Ripon could also be a plus for a horse who has one win and a second to his name from two previous starts over this course and distance.
The field is completed by Tarbaan (103) and Imperial Sands (102). Tarbaan is refitted with headgear and should prove a different proposition having shaped as if the run would bring him on after four months off when finishing sixth at Newmarket last time. As for Imperial Sands, he's done all his winning on the all-weather and his latest run when down the field at York was disappointing after he did too much too soon.
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
A C&D maiden winner as a three-year-old, Nigwa took another step forward without being seen to very best effect when runner-up at Hamilton (9.2f) last month. She gets the narrow vote to confirm the promise of that run from a 1 lb higher mark, with Baryshnikov and Hamilton-scorer Pisanello heading up the dangers.
Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings:
102 Imperial Sands
102 Poet's Dawn
102 Society Red
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