Get in front with the exclusive views of handicap expert Van Guard.
In the Ascot 2.05 Mark Johnston runs two prominent racers in the shape of Drill Sergeant and Players Please but it's difficult to imagine these stablemates taking each other on up top.
With the front running master and King of Ascot Frankie Dettori booked for Players Please I know which one I'd rather be with and at around 11.0 we've got ourselves a decent bet.
Back down to his last winning mark and with the ground in his favour we can expect a much better showing today than two recent lackluster efforts on soft ground. His fourth at the Glorious meeting off 4lb higher and a three length defeat behind Pippa Greene over today's course and distance would be good enough today in this weaker contest. Paper favourite Kensington Oval could be thrown in but he was green as grass at Royal Ascot and the early market signs are negative.
The finale at 5.00 is a trappy affair but I can see chinks in the armour of those towards the head of the market and would rather be with something at a price. Favourite Gold Sovereign won first time out, which is the time to catch Goldolphin runners, but he's been beaten the last twice off this mark and although better ground could bring about the necessary improvement, that's not guaranteed. Curzon Prince bolted up at Sandown but I'm not sure that was the strongest of races and with Jack Mitchell's claim down to 3 he's effectively 10lb higher here. Isphahan is tough and consistent but he's 7lb out of the handicap and I'd want a bigger price than the 5/1 currently on offer about him.
At a double figure price Mesbaah makes some appeal with the blinkers back on. He's a pound out of the weights and has only ever won a maiden which is a little disconcerting but he's responded well to headgear this summer and should be thereabouts off today's mark. He'll be ridden prominently and won't go down without a fight, 13.0 is fair.
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