Mahsoob to defy weights rise in Wolferton Handicap
The 3.05 at Royal Ascot on Saturday is the Wolferton Handicap over a mile and a quarter.
The weights are headed by Mark Johnston’s Fire Fighting, a four-year-old gelding by Soldier Of Fortune.
He has won six of his 37 races and has been running consistently in some top handicaps this season. He was a very comfortable winner of the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar in May and looked unlucky not to follow up at the Epsom Derby meeting. He was not able to get a clear run until the final furlong and finished strongly to beaten only a quarter of a length by Elbereth. The handicapper has pushed him up a further 4lbs for that run.
The probable favourite is John Gosden’s Mahsoob, a colt by Dansili out of a mare by Montjeu. He is unbeaten in three races and has overcome a wide draw for big handicap wins at Newbury and York. He beat Nancy From Nairobi at Newbury in April and followed up the following month with a half-length victory over Master Of Finance.
He looked to need every yard of the ten and a half furlongs that day and has a further 9lbs rise in the weights to contend with.
Another horse on the upgrade is Andrew Balding’s Collaboration, a son of Halling. He started the season on a handicap mark of 75 but won off 95 at Chester last time out. He always looked to be travelling best that day on the soft ground and is now up 7lbs in the ratings.
Niceofyoutotellme was only beaten three-quarters of a length by Western Hymn in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown. Arab Spring was just ahead of him, a horse rated 112. The ground looks to have come right for Ralph Beckett’s gelding but he is 12lbs higher than when last running in a handicap last September.
First Flight put in an eye-catching run when third to Mahsoob at York last time, beaten only three-quarters of a length. He is 5lbs better off with the winner but is not the most straight-forward of rides.
Sir Michael Stoute is represented by Provenance, a filly by Galileo out of a Danehill mare. She wore a hood last season but did not wear the headgear when third to Don’t Be at Goodwood last time. Dick Doughtywylie was not disgraced when seventh in this race last season but has not raced since while Educate can be difficult to win with.
Mahsoob – Wolferton Handicap (Royal Ascot 3.05 Saturday) @Sportsbet