David Ord takes a look at the Bet365 Bunbury Cup in his latest horse-by-horse guide and fancies Marcus Tregoning to register a welcome big-race success.
SPECULATIVE BID: Missed all of 2016 but ran himself back into form in a light autumn campaign last year. Talented on his day and suited by a race of this nature but tough ask on his seasonal reappearance from a career high mark.
LOVE DREAMS: Won at Goodwood in May but struggled at Epsom, Chelmsford and Ascot since. This is his best trip but others have more compelling claims.
MUBTASIM: This is his first handicap and comes into it off the back of a good run in a Listed race at Haydock. Third in the Jersey at Royal Ascot last season and represents a top team but 106 seems a stiff enough mark for him.
MJJACK: Beat Love Dreams on the Rowley Mile course in April but and fourth at Haydock later in the same month. Not seen since but six pounds higher than his last winning mark and vulnerable.
MAKZEEM: Failed to beat a horse in two starts this spring but stable were out of sorts at the time and interesting here with Ryan Moore an early booking. He’s ridden the five-year-old to two victories and was second in the consolation race for this aboard him last term. He races from the same mark as when fourth in a valuable handicap at Ascot in October and no surprise to see a big run.
CARDSHARP: Another handicap debutant who has taken in Group One company twice this term in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Commonwealth Cup. Cut little ice in either and below form in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle last time. Needs a revival to be competitive from 111 here.
RECKLESS ENDEAVOUR: Had a busy time over the winter and shaped well when 11th on turf debut for new yard in Wokingham at Royal Ascot. However looks weighted right up to his best.
FIRMANENT: Looks on a dangerous mark now and travelled strongly for a long way in the Hut Cup on his before being short of room. Effective at this trip and a lively outsider.
TUPI: Made little impact in the Wokingham and while shaped better at Windsor next time, he’s yet to win a handicap and this is a warm heat to try and break that sequence.
MUNTADAB: Back to form at York last time but was able to dictate the pace that day and will find this much hotter.
GILGAMESH: Won at York in May and nearest at finish over six furlongs when seventh in the Wokingham. Capable of better switching back to his best trip, he deserves his place at the head of the market.
BURNT SUGAR: Eighth in the Victoria Cup and 16th in the Hunt Cup when he’s gone in this deep in 2018 – hard to see why he’ll fare much better in this.
SHADY McCOY: Definite signs he was on the way back when sixth at York last time and three pounds lower here. Not one to put a line through.
MUKALAL: Three-time winner last season and travelled strongly for a long way on reappearance in Hunt Cup before tiring inside the final furlong. He’s best at seven furlongs and remains capable of better. A strong traveller, he’s interesting if settling as well as he did last time.
BORDERFORCE: Interesting recruit for the Karl Burke team and makes his British debut from a mark of 97. Impossible to assess but seemed quite exposed in France and the handicapper has taken few chances.
MOUNTAIN RESCUE: Little impact in the Hunt Cup last time but this is his trip. Won over seven furlongs at the Rowley Mile in May but six pounds higher here and that’s the worry.
MASHAM STAR: Being kept busy and while he was a creditable fourth at Sandown last week, nothing he did there suggested he was anything other than in the handicapper’s grip.
VON BLUCHER: Beat only one horse in four previous starts combined and plenty to prove right now.
ICE LORD: Well adrift of Love Dreams at Goodwood last time and five pounds higher than when winning at Ascot in October. May prefer more juice in the ground too.
SPANISH CITY: In very good hands and won two of last four but seemed short of excuses when beaten favourite at York last time. Races from same mark here and looked progressive before his latest start. Too early to write off.
VERDICT: Gilgamesh deserves his place at the head of the market but MUKALAL really took the eye with the way he powered through much of the Hunt Cup and this is his trip. He remains capable of better and gets the vote ahead of Firmanent who is handicapped to win something like this right now. Spanish City is a threat to all now he has snuck in at the bottom of the weights..