12 runners are set to go to post for this one-mile handicap (20:00), perhaps the most interesting race on Thursday’s evening card at Chelmsford.
The Roger Varian-trained Montather (108) sets the standard on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, a lightly raced three-year-old who is fancied to get back on an upward curve on his return to the all-weather. Montather has won both his starts at this track and he showed useful form when making a successful handicap debut over a mile and a quarter here in June. Below his best in three subsequent starts on turf, with excuses the last twice, he should find these conditions more to his liking and a BHA mark of 95 still looks lenient judged on the balance of his form.
Varian also saddles Jumaira Bay (106), who registered his latest victory over seven furlongs at this venue in June. He was below form over the same course and distance last time, but it’s worth putting a line through that run given how things developed, having to use up too much energy by making his effort out wide on the home turn. He is still lightly raced on the all-weather and a big run is expected if getting away on terms (often starts slowly) now back down in grade.
Endured (107) is an interesting contender on his debut for the Chris Dwyer yard. Formerly trained by Marco Botti, he was last seen winning a novice event at Kempton in August 2020, showing a smart turn of foot to win by three lengths in comfortable fashion. He would have been expected to progress from that run, but his subsequent absence suggests he possibly hasn’t been the easiest to train. He has been gelded during his time on the sidelines and it will be interesting to see whether there is much support for him in the betting as he starts out in handicaps from a BHA mark of 82.
Of the rest, Far Hope (105) and Dubai Icon (103) could be worth looking out for with a view to the jockeys’ championship. Dubai Icon lines up for Saeed bin Suroor – who has the ‘Hot Trainer’ Flag to denote that his yard is in top form – making his first appearance since finishing seventh in a Group 3 on the Meydan dirt in March. Oisin Murphy is booked to do the steering as he tries to maintain his lead over William Buick in the race to be crowned champion jockey.
Buick will also be involved on Far Hope, who has been knocking on the door on turf of late, producing a career best when beaten just a head at Thirsk last month. She is only 1 lb higher in the weights here shouldn’t be underestimated for Simon and Ed Crisford, who also have the ‘Hot Trainer’ Flag.
Timeform Analyst’s Verdict:
Montather hasn't had much go his way the last twice and now finds himself back down in grade bidding to maintain an unbeaten record on polytrack, so he makes plenty of appeal from an ideal draw. Stablemate Jumaira Bay is also back in calmer waters having had an excuse last time, so he's considered the main danger.
Race Passes are the ultimate form guide, providing Timeform analysis, Flags and ratings for every runner in every race in Britain and Ireland. Subscribers have access to additional features that add extra levels of insight, including complete performance histories, an extensive form archive and unlimited use of horse, jockey and trainer searches.