Yalta has mark of class to get back in front at Chelmsford
Yalta can take full advantage of a dip in class as he lines up in the Essex Sprint Handicap, one of the feature events on a quality evening card at Chelmsford tonight.
Mark Johnston's charge has been battling away in the best company since he landed a fair conditions event at Pontefract last May.
Runs at Royal Ascot and Newmarket's July meeting yielded little joy subsequently, but he enjoyed his day in the sun as he held off stablemate and subsequent Group One winner The Last Lion to win the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood last July.
However, that career-best effort made the Exceed And Excel colt pretty tough to place, with Johnston trying him in the Nunthorpe before two more Group-race runs in the autumn left him similarly adrift.
Yalta shaped with much more promise on his return in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot back in April, showing up well for a long way before having to settle for fifth, beaten four and a half lengths by Blue Point.
He was nowhere near repeating that form when last in the Commonwealth Cup, but his lack of success has seen his mark drop back down to 105, and his three-year-old allowance gives him a little bit more leeway here, too.
Clearly it is a bit of a leap of faith as he is on a long losing run, but he certainly has a touch of class and the opposition is a couple of notches down on what he has been facing.
Leshlaa was not far off in a competitive heat at Newmarket last time out and it would be no surprise if he could make amends in the Moulsham Mile Handicap.
The three-year-old was beaten just over two lengths by Marzouq at Headquarters, with his rider having made an early bid for home which failed to pay dividends as he could not kick on again at the finish.
His previous run when fifth in the Britannia showed just how handy an animal he could be and given he won on the Kempton Polytrack last November, the switch back from turf holds few fears.
Jalela made it third time lucky when winning at Newmarket in May and she can make a victorious return from a break in the Monaghan Civil Engineering Ltd Handicap.
Richard Hannon gave his charge three quick runs at the start of the season so after opening her account from a subsequent winner, it is no surprise she has been given a bit of breathing space since.
The form of that race may not be the strongest, but the first two pulled well clear of the rest and it is to her credit Jalela held on that day when the testing conditions were clearly not to her liking.
CHELSMFORD: 5.40 Big Time Maybe, 6.10 Sixties Secret, 6.40 Bizet, 7.10 Leshlaa, 7.40 YALTA (NAP), 8.10 Jalela, 8.40 Relevant.
FFOS LAS: 2.15 Zambezi Queen, 2.45 Isle Of Man, 3.15 Simply Breathless, 3.45 Hawridge Flyer, 4.15 Trautmann, 4.45 Catcher On The Go, 5.15 Nuncio.
NOTTINGHAM: 4.55 Champagne Rules, 5.25 Story Minister, 5.55 Giving Glances, 6.25 Goldslinger, 6.55 Kyllang Rock, 7.25 Operative, 7.55 Tango Sky.
THIRSK: 2.00 Vera Drake, 2.30 Westfield Wonder, 3.00 Biba, 3.30 Whipphound, 4.00 Firesnake, 4.30 Rosy Ryan, 5.00 Velvet Voice, 5.30 Mr Cool Cash.
DOUBLE: Yalta and Kyllang Rock.