A red-hot renewal of the Golden Jacket starts tonight at Crayford - live on RPGTV (Sky 175) - plus it's the semi-finals of Hove's Winter Derby. Darrell Williams is across both events.
"Pat Janssens’ bitch has come a long way since two moderate efforts in the Kent Leger over the same 714m trip last autumn and looks a leading player for outright honours"
One of the deepest Jacket's in recent years is highlighted by a golden fifth heat (21:09) which includes last year's 1-2 Stardom and Antigua Fire, but both may have to play second fiddle to Skilful Sandie.
Pat Janssens' bitch has come a long way since two moderate efforts in the Kent Leger over the same 714m trip last autumn and after confirming the promise of two excellent wins over Romford's equivalent eight bend trip with a sharp course and distance trial last weekend looks a leading player for outright honours with an ante-post wager also suggested.
Stardom who set a new track-record for the distance last summer has enjoyed a rough ride in recent starts, including when winning here three weeks ago, and may be best watched at present. Antigua Fire who took the scalp of his old rival in a trial stakes a fortnight ago is harder to pass over and should be included in covering forecast wagers.
Pop Poppy into your wagers
Roxholme Poppy, hugely impressive in the first round of the Kent Leger showed an immediate return to form on her first start for over three months at Monmore last week - that on the back of a sharp 540m Crayford trial - and will be extremely tough to beat in heat three (20:17) with Hayley Keightley's bitch is also recommended for an ante-post saver.
Rum looks the right choice
Coronation Cup winner Antigua Rum readily justified skinny odds on his eight-bend bow at the track last week and should claim the opening heat (19:43) with Beechgrove Bell, building a useful record over this trip, appearing the most likely to chase him home.
Sheldan laid down a big marker to further enhance an already useful CD record last weekend and makes plenty of sense in heat four (20:51) while Sparta Master, another with excellent 714m credentials can prove too hot in the final heat (21:27).
Down at Hove, King Sheeran can pick up likely pacesetter Sidaz Jet to further boost his Winter Derby claims in the opening heat (20:38) with the latter fancied to hang on for the forecast and second qualifying spot.
Antigua Romeo, unable to confirm previous local form with Sheeran in last week's heats will be odds-on to claim the second semi-final (20:53) but can be taken on with Volcanic Reef. Heather Dimmock's charge was unlucky not to catch the same rival last week and is over-priced for the re-match. A small each-way ante post ticket is also worth including.
The third semi-final (21:08) looks far tougher to call. Make No Apologie has claims if able to shoot clear although fastest heat winner Killeacle Gus may prevent that happening which could let in Sonic Spur who would have got a lot closer to that rival with even a modicum of good luck in last week's first round.
Antigua Rum to win 1* 19:43 Cray
Roxholme Poppy to win 2* 20:16 Cray
Sheldan to win 1* 20:51 Cray
Skilful Sandie to win 2* 21:09 Cray
1 x 5 ½* RFC 21:09 Cray
Skilful Sandie to win 2* ante-post Golden Jacket
Roxholme Poppy to win 1* ante post Golden Jacket
5 x 1 ½* SFC 20:38 Hove
Volcanic Reef to win 1* 20:53 Hove
Volcanic Reef ½* each-way ante post Winter Derby