It may be worth chancing another returning from a break in the Grosvenor We Bet You’ll Love Us Handicap, with GODDESS OF FIRE a winner on her return last year over C&D and now 3lb higher after a low-key end to her campaign.
She has excuses for a loss of form, with her last three turf runs all at the wrong trip, and she was far from disgraced in a couple of big-field all-weather handicaps in October.
Despite running from 7f to 1¼m here over the years, all her best efforts have come at a mile, and her C&D record is a very respectable 724831113.
She is best when able to dominate, and has a chance to get an uncontested lead up the centre here, for all Chief’s Will could also go forward.
Leicester has attracted decent fields on quick ground and I think that better going could be the key to CREME CHANTILLY, who was an easy winner at Chelmsford before finishing a respectable fifth to Maggie’s Way on handicap debut at Nottingham on soft.
Michael Bell’s filly travelled well for a long way last time, but couldn’t pick up on the ground, and may well be better suited by the faster conditions at the Oadby venue.
She has natural pace which will allow her to take a positive position from stall two, and she gave the impression that she was ahead of her mark at Nottingham until getting bogged down late on, her jockey far from hard on her when her winning chance had gone.
Bell has booked Hector Crouch for the ride, and the pair team up well with a 20% strike-rate which is notably above market expectation, while Bell also score at above-expected frequency with his runners at Leicester.
CAESARS PEARL appears to have a bit to find with likely favourite Ormolulu, she is in receipt of a stone from the Osborne filly, and was in a tougher race at Southwell last time than the one won by Ormolulu, so merits respect, and it’s intriguing that she is Lidster’s only runner on the card.
Caesars Pearl – unlike most of her rivals here – is already qualified for a handicap mark, and fared pretty well when a close fifth on handicap bow at Southwell seven weeks ago. She kept on under hands and heels at Southwell, but I thought she might have done better given the promise of her return at Wolverhampton, when beaten by a nose by Nogo’s Dream at Wolverhampton.
It may be that the Southwell run came quick enough on her second start after a lay-off, or perhaps she was better suited by racing round a bend at Wolverhampton, but the form has worked out with the winner just beaten in an Ascot handicap off 76 recently. Caesars Pearl has been given a short break since Southwell, and the turning track here ought to suit. She’s entered in a handicap at Leicester early next week, so it’s interesting that her trainer is happy to come here, and can only be because he thinks she has a winning chance, given defeat here will not affect her mark before Leicester.
The unexposed pair of Yaanaas and Assessment take up a fair chunk of the market here and it leaves room for an each-way bet against the pair, particularly with the extra place on offer.
Helm Rock was just behind Yaanaas at Ascot last time out, and is 1lb better off for the neck that separated the pair at the winning line. That suggests they have the same chance here, and that Yaanaas is probably too skinny at the early odds.
Helm Rock has the benefit of William Buick, and is very much respected if able to lead from the inside stall, but at a bigger price, there is some upside to INDEMNIFY, who is the least exposed in the field and who has a decent chance if ignoring his final run last year, when going as if amiss at Hamilton.
He was made favourite to beat recent York winner Marhaba The Champ that day, which is worth noting, while his earlier form has worked out well enough to suggest that a mark of 87 is far from severe.
Roger Varian’s record with his returning handicappers is excellent with around 26% of those coming off a break of 60+ days successful, and Indemnify appears to have gone under the radar.