Rhys Williams has analysed Monday's racing and has four selections across three meetings.
"That run suggests a rating of 61 for Army Of One could be on the lenient side, particularly as I think he has the potential to improve from that run."
Surface switch to bring improvement
The opening race at Southwell is a very weak contest and Villanelle heads the market having finished second on her last three starts. Rather than side with those that have already proven themselves to be of very limited ability, I think there's a potential improver lurking at the bottom of the weights.
Jean Mary showed nothing in three starts for Stef Keniry towards the end of 2019 over five and six furlongs, being beaten 19½ length, 20 lengths and 24 lengths and receiving a rating of 22.
Since then she's raced three times over hurdles. On the first two starts she showed no ability but she ran a bit better last time at Southwell back in September. She managed to stay in touch until the end of the back straight and although beaten 35½ lengths, she was only 15½ lengths behind the runner up.
That run at least showed that she has some ability, which hadn't been remotely evident in her previous runs. She now makes the switch to Fibresand for her handicap debut and bids to emulate her full brother, King Viktor, who won over C&D off a lowly mark earlier this month. He had also shown nothing in three starts over five and six furlongs and his victory offers hope that she can make similar improvement for the switch to this surface.
It may turn out that she doesn't take to the surface in the same manner but any 8/1 or bigger appeals given her potential for improvement on her first start for Brian Ellison.
Return to this C&D will suit
The other horse who appeals at the prices in this race is Denable who has been curiously campaigned. He showed some promise in bumpers and then made his flat debut over this C&D in early March. He travelled well for a long way that day and wasn't given an overly hard time in the straight once it was clear that he couldn't catch the leaders.
Since then he's been dropped back in trip, firstly to 1m2f at Chelmsford and then to a mile at Kempton. Unsurprisingly he found both of those distances too sharp and he now returns to a more suitable test of stamina for his handicap debut off a mark that looks a touch on the lenient side based on his fifth over C&D.
Simply running to his rating would give him a chance in such a weak race and any 11/2 or bigger appeals.
Likely strong pace will suit
There are plenty of front runners in the five-furlong handicap that kicks off Windsor's card this evening and the potential for a strong pace as a result will suit Katherine Place.
She usually tracks the leaders and can race keenly, which she did on her return to action after 179 days off at Brighton. She couldn't get any cover that day in a race where Zulu Zander didn't have any significant pressure for the lead and she raced keenly just behind him to the outside. She hung left a little under pressure, something that she has done before, and finished two lengths behind him in third.
That potential to hang left in the closing stages is a slight concern tonight but she will hopefully be able to challenge near the stands side rail and have horses to her left which will reduce the potential for this negative trait to harm her chance.
It is a bit concerning too that she can be awkwardly away from the stalls but as long as she gets a relatively clean break then I expect she will find the perfect spot just in behind the leaders and if the expected pace collapse happens, she can take advantage.
Looks well handicapped on German form
When selecting Fascinating Lips at Windsor in this column a couple of weeks ago I highlighted the success of ex-German horses on the flat in Britain. That horse has since added himself to that list of winners at Lingfield and I think there's a chance that Army Of One can join him.
He started his career with Henk Grewe and had just the one run for him, finishing well beaten in a maiden at Cologne. He was then moved to Stefan Richter, who will be best known to most as the former trainer of Princess Zoe. Army Of One showed improvement on his first run for Richter when finished fourth at Dresden and was then beaten a neck at the same track a couple of weeks later.
His following start in a sales race at Hamburg was the best of his runs in Germany. Having initially raced in midfield, he gradually slipped back through the field and was in fourth last place turning into the home straight. While he couldn't get close enough to challenge the leaders, he stayed on well without being given an overly hard ride to finish seventh. The winner of that race was beaten 1½ lengths in a Group 3. The runner up was Monete who finished 2¾ lengths ahead of Army Of One. He's since joined Nick Mitchell and has been given a rating of 71. The fourth was Tax For Max, who had been beaten 2 lengths by Wonderful Moon in a Group 2 on his previous start and he ended his time in Germany by finishing fifth in a Group 1 before joining Willie Mullins. The Mark Johnston trained Lord Of The Alps finished a head in front of Army Of One (conceding 9lb). He was rated 75 at the time and is now rated 86.
That run suggests a rating of 61 for Army Of One could be on the lenient side, particularly as I think he has the potential to improve from that run.
He was well beaten in a handicap on his final start for Richter but that was over 1m6f and he looked like a non stayer.
He then joined Gavin Cromwell and ran three times over hurdles for him but showed very little and has now been switched to Mick Appleby for his return to the flat.
It may turn out that he's had a problem which means he won't be as good as he was when racing in Germany but his form over there suggests he's well handicapped off 61 and any 6/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021