Distant Past may be one for the present at Chelmsford
Distant Past, ridden by Shane Gray and trained by Kevin Ryan, can back up his recent Newcastle verdict with victory at Chelmsford tonight. The six-year-old landed a gamble when winning at Gosforth Park before Christmas, clearly appreciating the drop back to five furlongs after running over six furlongs of late.
He was a winner over the minimum trip at Leicester last September but failed to make his mark in the six subsequent outings.
Distant Past was sharply away and led from start to finish, which seemed to suit him, and while he has been hiked 5lb in the ratings, he should shine again if allowed to dominate in the totequadpot Four Places In Four Races Handicap .
Shypen ran a fair bit better than the official result suggests last time and is worth supporting in the totepool Betting On All UK Racing Handicap, the Chelmsford finale.
Richard Fahey's charge was beaten just over two lengths in fourth by El Viento at this track in mid-December, but she shaped with much more promise than that as things really did not go her way at all.
That comment also applied to her previous run when second at Lingfield so it would be fair to say she is in good heart at present and must be thereabouts off an unchanged mark of 81.
Verne Castle is on quite a roll at the moment and can extend his unbeaten streak to four in the Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Andrew Balding's charge runs in the colours of Jeff Smith and hails from the family of his great sprinter Lochsong, so it has been no surprise to see him really shine at the minimum trip.
The four-year-old took 10 attempts before finally getting off the mark at Chelmsford in August and he has not looked back since, triumphing twice more over five furlongs at the Essex venue.
He began his winning streak off a mark of 67 so will obviously be facing a tougher task off his elevated perch of 81, but he rose to the challenge from a bad draw last time and can do the same again here.
Remember The Man is an interesting contender in the Betway Marathon Handicap as he makes his British bow for Ralph Beckett.
Formerly trained in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre, Remember The Man failed to make an impact in five starts last year but looks the type who could do well over this kind of trip judged on his pedigree.
Stonecoldsoba was not seen at his best last time but can redeem himself in the Betway Handicap at Southwell.
He took a keen hold at Wolverhampton before fading in the finish, so a more restrained gameplan should see him bounce back here.
Captain Chaos found Politologue much too good on his seasonal reappearance but should find the Injured Jockeys Fund Novices' Chase at Lingfield eminently more winnable.
Grade Two-placed a novice hurdler, it is easy to understand why Dan Skelton took the plunge and pitched him into a race of that level on his first try over fences.
Tackling the Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot before Christmas, Captain Chaos ran a decent race in finishing last of four, making a bad blunder at the seventh but doing well to recover.
That was clearly a pretty hot race to tackle at his first attempt, but Captain Chaos should feel the benefit of both that run and an ease in company here.
Cool Sky was beaten just a short head on Boxing Day but can make a quick return pay in the starspreads.com Handicap Hurdle. A son of Ask, he is an interesting debutant in this event.
CHELMSFORD: 5.45 Pendo, 6.15 Western Prince, 6.45 DISTANT PAST (NAP) 7.15 K'Gari Spirit, 7.45 Star General, 8.15 Shypen.
LINGFIELD: 12.50 Sliding Doors, 1.20 Impulsive Star, 1.50 Clonusker, 2.20 Cool Sky, 2.50 Captain Chaos, 3.20 Midnight Silver, 3.50 Very Live.
SOUTHWELL: 12.35 Mr Morse, 1.05 Playful Dude, 1.35 Samphire Coast, 2.10 Stonecoldsoba, 2.40 Archie Stevens, 3.10 Ascot Day, 3.40 Fairy Lock.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.00 Remember The Man, 2.30 Moonshine Dancer, 3.00 Garam, 3.30 In The Spotlight, 4.00 Rapid Rise, 4.30 Verne Castle, 5.00 Major Muscari.
DOUBLE: Distant Past and Verne Castle.