Smart Stat: 3 - John Gosden's number of winners in past 10 runnings
There are a couple of interesting newcomers on show here, and James Tate’s Far Above was well backed when the markets opened, but John Gosden has a good record in this race, and Franz Kafka sets a solid standard. He found only the potentially smart Fox Champion too good on his recent return at Doncaster and, while he will stay further when the time comes, this trip looks fine for him at present and he is fancied to open his account.
Smart Stat: £23.48 - John Gosden's profit to a £1 level stake with horses running after a break
Almashriq cost a whopping $1,200,000 as a yearling, and duly landed the odds to make a winning debut at Newcastle towards the backend of last year. He stood out on paper in what wasn’t the strongest race of its type, but he also looked a good prospect, overcoming obvious signs of greenness to win with a bit to spare. John Gosden has a good record with his runners returning from a break, and the feeling is that there should be plenty more to come from Almashriq, and he can win again before having his sights raised even further.
Smart Stat: £68.43 - Declan Carroll's profit to a £1 level stake when having one runner at a flat meeting
Abel Handy was a near-smart two-year-old who proved disappointing last season, failing to win and only showing his form once when finishing sixth under this rider in the Portland at Doncaster in September. As a result, he starts this campaign from a potentially lenient mark, now 7 lb lower than for that good effort at Doncaster and, in what is a lesser handicap to the ones he was contesting towards the end of last season, he is chanced to make a winning return with James Doyle back in the plate.