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'She's got a big chance' - analysis and quotes for Newmarket's big-field £100,000 heritage handicap

Woodhay Wonder: bids to continue her love affair with Newmarket
Woodhay Wonder: sole course winner in the line-upCredit: Mark Cranham

By now progressive three-year-old sprinters have had a few chances to get out of the slow lane. Some might be in the July Cup on Saturday, while races like the Charity Sprint at York and Palace of Holyroodhouse at Royal Ascot will have provided an off-ramp for others.

This race still throws up plenty of classy sorts. The average winner in the last ten years has reached a career-high Racing Post Rating of 107.2. That is impressive considering this is a race that generally does not fill and involves horses rated in the low 80s.

It might be tempting to use the course bias to whittle down a lengthy shortlist, but that is difficult with conditions likely to be on the soft side. In big-field sprints on the July course, high draws tend to be favoured. This race follows that trend: in the last decade two-thirds of first-three finishers have come from stall ten or higher.

Take away races run on quick ground and the image flips. The low numbers do best when the ground is soft, albeit high remains better than middle. 

The best heuristic is to err towards those drawn near either extreme. Overnight favourite Woodhay Wonder is in ten of 16 so has not got the best of the draw. 

Dark Vintage is interesting as he is drawn on the wing in 16 and has been shaping as if ready for six furlongs. He has no form on soft ground having raced in the States as a two-year-old, but his pedigree offers some promise for testing conditions.

Two Tribes acts on good to soft and he was second to James's Delight at Newmarket in May in what is often the first indicative three-year-old sprint of the season. The draw was not kind to him in the Holyroodhouse, but stall three should not hold him back this time. 

A win for Two Tribes would pay a compliment to the diet of gem-finding sprint handicaps for three-year-olds that this race concludes.
Race analysis by Keith Melrose


Going latest

The going was soft, good to soft in places on Wednesday afternoon after 29mm of rain on Tuesday. Clerk of the course Andrew Morris said on Wednesday: "Today and tomorrow we've got a largely dry forecast with the chance of a light shower, but we don't think it will have too much impact on ground conditions." 


What they say

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Military
We're dropping in class and coming back into a handicap with him. He's been running in some decent races and this might help him. He seems in good form since the Commonwealth Cup.

Tom Ward, trainer of Woodhay Wonder
There's a big worry on the ground, I'll just see how it goes over the next 24 hours, but I'm really pleased with her. She ran a blinder at Royal Ascot over a furlong shorter, loves Newmarket and loves this trip, so if she does run she's got a big chance.

John Gosden, joint-trainer of Dorney Lake
He wasn't beaten far in his group in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes at Royal Ascot and would have an each-way chance.

Adam Ryan, assistant to Kevin Ryan, trainer of Sergeant Wilko
He's in grand order and has won a couple of times this year. It's a competitive race but we're very happy with him. He's raced on soft ground before so I don't think it'll be a problem.
Race reporting by Charlie Huggins


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Can Hamish continue to make hay and keep connections content during this remarkably wet summer?   

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