14:40 Ascot, Saturday
Live on ITV4
1. Spycatcher (Karl Burke/ Pierre-Louis Jamin (3))
Added to his fine record fresh when producing a convincing performance to land a seven-furlong conditions event on heavy ground at Thirsk three weeks ago. A career best will be needed if he's to defy top weight on a rare handicap start.
2. Vafortino (Kevin Philippart de Foy/ Benoit de la Sayette (3))
Won this race 12 months ago and added to his tally in an Optional Claiming Handicap over a mile at Goodwood in September. Has put up a couple of good placed efforts this spring (was second to the reopposing Rebel Territory at Newmarket last time) and this consistent sort is likely to be on the premises in this race again.
3. Accidental Agent (Eve Johnson Houghton/ Georgia Dobie (3))
Won the Queen Anne in his prime and his second to Vafortino in last year's renewal of this shows he's still capable of really smart handicap performances. Should strip fitter for last week's reappearance at Newmarket and he's 6 lb lower than 12 months ago.
4. Toimy Son (David Menuisier/ Cristian Demuro)
Landed a seven-furlong listed race in France for Yann Barberot last spring but hasn't shown enough in his two outings for his current yard this spring to suggest he'll play a prominent role here.
5. Fresh (James Fanshawe/ Daniel Tudhope)
Has a very good record at Ascot and bagged two valuable prizes over this trip last summer. Ended 2022 on a low note but didn't shape too badly when fifth on last month's reappearance on the all-weather and he should be spot on now. One to consider.
6. Kingdom Come (NON-RUNNER)
Has looked highly progressive in racking up a hat-trick in seven-furlong handicaps on the all-weather at Kempton this year. Beat the reopposing Rainbow Fire (won since) last time and still looks well treated after a 7 lb rise if he copes with the very different conditions here. NON-RUNNER
7. Totally Charming (George Boughey/ Billy Loughnane (3))
One of the most progressive handicappers around last season and shaped well enough to think he may have even more to offer in 2023 when seventh in the Irish Lincolnshire on his reappearance, fading late on. The drop back to seven furlongs is ideal and he's won on heavy. One of two strong contenders for his stable.
8. River Nymph (Clive Cox/ Adam Kirby)
Won this on soft ground in 2021 and was third to Vafortino last year. Added two more good C&D efforts to his CV last autumn and is another who can't be left out of calculations.
9. Biggles (Ralph Beckett/ Pat Dobbs)
Proved most progressive last year, winning four times, including on heavy. Was a good third to the reopposing Rainbow Fire on reappearance at Haydock a fortnight ago and is likely to give his running again.
10. Orbaan (David O'Meara/ Mark Winn (5))
Consistent sort who gained a deserved big-handicap success when taking the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood before following up in a classified event over this C&D. Probably needed his recent reappearance run behind Rainbow Fire at Haydock and should be back closer to form now.
11. Rainbow Fire (Marco Botti/ Neil Callan)
Has made a very positive start for this yard. Couldn't live with Kingdom Come on his reappearance on the all-weather but returned to winning ways back on turf when accounting for Biggles and nine others in a seven-furlong handicap at Haydock two weeks ago. Raced only on good/good to firm on turf so the unknown is how he'll handle this deeper ground.
12. Sir Dancealot (John Butler/ Gerald Mosse)
Was a smart performer earlier in his career and is still capable of useful form, as he showed when finishing a creditable second over a mile at Kempton last month. The suspicion is that he might prove vulnerable to younger legs in a race of this nature, though.
13. Rhoscolyn (David O'Meara/ Cieren Fallon)
This smart handicapper is a while without a win but he posted several good efforts in competitive events in 2022, including when third in the Buckingham Palace over C&D. Like stablemate Orbaan, he probably needed the outing when below par behind Rainbow Fire on his recent Haydock reappearance.
14. Perotto (Roger Varian/ David Egan)
Won the Britannia at the 2021 Royal meeting. Last season was a little disappointing but he's well treated if a switch to the Roger Varian yard sparks a revival. One to note in the betting.
15. Safe Voyage (John Quinn/ Jason Hart)
Is a veteran now but was a good fourth in the Balmoral over a mile here on his final start last year and was all the better for his reappearance when a creditable third in the Thirsk Hunt Cup last weekend.
16. Baradar (George Boughey/ Kevin Stott)
Bounced back to form with a bang for his new yard when winning a seven-furlong handicap on heavy ground at Doncaster last November. Travelled well for a long way when third in the Lincoln there on his reappearance over a mile and is a big player now dropping back to seven furlongs. Is also equipped with a first-time tongue tie.
17. Tylos (Archie Watson/ Taylor Fisher (5))
Produced a career best when ploughing through the mud to easily win a seven-furlong handicap at Leicester last month but that was a four-runner race and he has a lot more on his plate off a 7 lb higher mark in this much deeper affair.
18. Rebel Territory (Amanda Perrett/ Jim Crowley)
Underlined his capability when fresh when making a winning reappearance in a seven-furlong handicap on soft ground at Newmarket last month (the reopposing Vafortino was a half-length back in second). Should remain competitive after just a 2 lb nudge.
19. Call Me Ginger (Jim Goldie/ Amie Waugh (5))
Landed a five-furlong handicap last July and also won the Portland at Doncaster (was second past the post but was awarded race) last September. Raced almost exclusively at five and six furlongs and this trip on testing ground might stretch him on his return from eight months off.
20. Zip (Richard Fahey/ Callum Hutchinson (3))
Won a seven-furlong handicap on heavy ground at Doncaster at the end of last season and has continued the good work on the all-weather, winning seven-furlong handicaps at Newcastle and Southwell. Posted another good run when a close third at Southwell last time and he ought to give his running, but it is hard to argue he has much in hand of his mark.
21. Ropey Guest (George Margarson/ John Egan)
Consistent type who was runner-up in the Buckingham Palace over C&D and the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last summer. Was a creditable fifth in this race on his reappearance last year. Likely to give his running but will probably find at least the odd one too strong.
22. Admiral D (Richard Fahey/ Barry McHugh)
Largely ran well in 2022 without getting his head in front. Was a creditable fifth on his reappearance at Newmarket but wasn't in the same form back there last weekend (both of those efforts were over six furlongs). The return to seven furlongs may suit and there's still a feeling he could click in a race like this at some point.
23. Darkness (David O'Meara/ Andrea Atzeni)
Three-time winner in France but has drawn a blank for his current stable. This season's three runs have been at least respectable but without marking him down as a likely contender for a leading handicap such as this.