Eight runners are set to go to post for this conditions event (20:00), the most valuable race on Wednesday's evening card at Kempton with nearly £13,000 on offer to the winner.
The William Haggas-trained Earl of Tyrone (116) tops the field on Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings on his first start for the stable. He developed into a smart performer last season when trained by Paddy Twomey, notably winning a listed contest at Limerick in June and producing an even better effort in defeat when beaten just a length into third in the Ebor Handicap at York in August. Bought for 300,000 guineas in October, he returns to action today after nearly five months on the sidelines and this will also be his first start on the all-weather. It won't be a simple task trying to concede weight all round, but a repeat of his best form will put him right in the mix.
Berkshire Rocco (114+) showed he retains plenty of ability when gaining his first win since October 2020 in a conditions event at Southwell last month, keeping going well with cheekpieces reapplied to land the spoils by a length and a quarter. That performance confirmed his stamina for two miles in no uncertain terms and several of today's rivals were behind him. He has race fitness on his side compared to Earl of Tyrone and seems sure to take plenty of beating in his follow-up bid.
Rainbow Dreamer (112) filled the runner-up spot behind Berkshire Rocco at Southwell, sticking to his task well to pull clear of the remainder. He is having a productive winter and should go well again as he seeks a third success in this race having won back-to-back renewals in 2020 and 2021 before finishing last of the seven runners 12 months ago.
Sleeping Lion (113) won this race last year and looks to hold to solid each-way claims this time judged on that showing. Admittedly, this will be his first appearance since disappointing at Newcastle in April, but he has gone well fresh in the past and has finished outside of the places just once in six previous starts at Kempton.
Earlofthecotswolds (112) finished third in this race 12 months ago and was last seen filling the same position in the race won by Berkshire Rocco at Southwell. He was beaten a long way on the last occasion, though, and might have to settle for a minor role once again. Similar comments apply to Solent Gateway (108), who finished a distant fifth at Southwell and even the form he showed when winning a handicap at Wolverhampton last time leaves him with plenty to find.
The field is completed by Metier (109) and Aced It (103). Aced It won a handicap over this course and distance last time but looks out of his depth against this class of opposition, while the useful hurdler Metier was a comfortable winner of last year's November Handicap at Doncaster on his first start on the Flat for over three years. He seems to be at his best when the mud is flying, though, and this provides him with a very different test on his all-weather debut.
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
Berkshire Rocco may not quite be the force of old but is warming to his task on AW, beating 3 of these rivals when winning a similar event at Southwell last month, and shades the vote over Earl of Tyrone, who showed smart form in Ireland but has a 3 lb penalty on his AW/yard debut. Sleeping Lion won this in good style 12 months ago and is another to consider on his belated comeback.
Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings:
116 Earl of Tyrone
114+ Berkshire Rocco
113 Sleeping Lion
112 Rainbow Dreamer
108 Solent Gateway
103 Aced It
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