13:45, Lingfield Park, Saturday
The 2000m start here can be quite tricky if you are drawn high as the first bend comes up very soon. It can sometimes be tricky for horses coming from off the pace, as they can get unbalanced coming down the hill. The short straight means they cannot collect themselves up in time to reach the leaders, hence why there are always fast finishers.
Many of the runners in this year’s renewal have winning course form, which is important as the sharp nature of the track doesn’t suit every horse.
Battalion won this race last year when beating a classy field of Lingfield specialists. He has only had four runs since however and struggled to make an impact. This race should be easier though, although his draw in 8 doesn’t look ideal. Jockey Dougie Costello and trainer Jamie Osborne have been a good combination to follow throughout the winter months.
Utmost has only had four runs but is already rated 100, winning first time out, although hasn’t won since. He appears to have work to do in this class, but is unexposed and is clearly thought of in high regard.
Intern was no match for the returning Toast Of New York last time out at this track, but it was his first run for 166 days and is entitled to come on for the run.
Dolphin Vista is a very classy horse on his day, having not been seen since winning the Betfred Cambridgeshire in September. That was his best ever career performance and with it being only his second run for trainer Martyn Meade, it is likely that there is still further improvement to come.
Mia Tesoro won four races on the bounce last summer and took a huge leap up the handicap ratings. He doesn’t look finished with yet though, beating a couple of today’s field home last time out (Battalion and Petite Jack) in the Betway Churchill Stakes won by Master The World.
Owner in focus
Melbourne 10 have become huge supporters of the All-Weather and have some interesting horses running this winter. Most significantly is their runner in this race, Battalion, who is a prolific All-Weather performer. Already this year they have had 91 runners resulting in 13 wins on synthetic surfaces. Other horses to note are recent winner Rusper, Marquee Club and Start Seven. They are easily recognisable on track when wearing their familiar blue and orange blazers to match their jockeys’ colours, and trainer Jamie Osborne is also part of the ownership.