Hopefully all the meetings will remain today, as unfortunately we lost Beverley to the weather yesterday. Good luck with whatever you're backing, and try to find the soft ground specialists, as yet again the ground is on the slow side.
BIG THANKS probably won't be a popular horse in this race for a few reasons, but there's enough to believe the soft ground will bring out the improvement which is needed.
Phillip Makin hasn't started this flat season particularly strong, he is 0/25 from his turf runs. That stat alone is probably enough to put people off from backing his horses, and that's a fair thought process to have. However, the pedigree of this horse gives me a strong impression that you will see the best of him when on soft ground. In his three races to date, he has only raced on the All Weather, today will be his turf debut. He is by Camacho, out of an unraced mare called ‘Thanks', who has produced a very useful filly called With Thanks, who is trained by William Haggas. With Thanks is a full sister to Big Thanks, and she is extremely effective on heavy ground over 7f; proven when winning a Group 3 at Naas at the back end of last season.
Big Thanks will make his handicap debut today, and though this is his first run of the season, and he might need the run, a mark of 67 is definitely within his reach, if he can produce a fraction of what his sister has. He might be better over further, but the fact his sister stays 7f on testing ground will be a positive as the ground will be a stamina test, and he will hopefully be staying on best when others are toiling. It wouldn't surprise me to see him outpaced and pushed along, but as proven like last week, the straight at Haydock on soft ground seems to last a long time, so hopefully he can wear them down.
Advised: Each Way
Though he was disappointing last time out, I am willing to give REFUGE the benefit of the doubt that it was an off run, and that he can bounce back to form today.
The form of his second before his poor run last time has worked out well. The winner has since won twice, the third has won since, and a few in behind have run nice races since.
He will handle the soft ground, as he has been a previous winner on testing ground at Musselburgh, where he won by 3.25 lengths, and then losing by 0.75 lengths when trying to follow up in the race after at Windsor. This race is full of horses who are well-handicapped, but I'm siding with the 4yo who could be better than a mark of 58, and could be on the up, rather than the rest of them who are on the decline.
Mick Easterby has had a few winners in the last couple of days, and has David Allan taking the ride, who is the top jockey at the is track.