A small but competitive field turn up for the first handicap of the meeting and although the chances of Alnwick look good we take our chance on some value with SQUIRTLE; Sphere may also have a chance. A beaten favourite last time out the selection drops to a mark lower than that she last carried to victory for the first time since that success last August. She's run credibly on a few occasions under more weight so she can run a big race here. Alnwick won on his only visit here before winning off a rating five pounds lower last July. Since then the gelding has run well in better company and while his mark remains on the high side he needs to be respected dropping down in grade. Sphere is potentially weighted well but is still maiden after 10 starts, most under heavier burdens while My Mate Max should go well off his current mark and is also stepping down in class. Not an easy race to judge but Squirtle looks like a value play.
Alnwick 7-1 (8-13) Mid-division, headway over 5f out, effort 3f out, stayed on same pace final furlong, 4th of 11, 2 1/4l behind Judgethemoment (9-9) at Ascot 2m hcp 0-90 (3) gf in May.
Hawridge King 22-1 (9-2) Towards rear, reminders over 4f out, never dangerous, 6th of 12, 16l behind Clear Reef (9-2) at Haydock 1m 6f hcp 0-80 (4) sft in May.
My Mate Max 6-1 (8-13) Tracked leader, ridden to lead over 2f out, driven and headed over 1f out, no extra close home, 2nd of 9, hd behind Zuwaar (9-0) at Haydock 1m 6f hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Apr.
Munlochy Bay 12-1 (8-1) Mid-division, ridden and weakened over 2f out, 11th of 15, 13l behind Callisto Moon (8-4) at Sandown 1m 6f hcp 0-85 (4) gd.
Sphere (IRE) 6-1 (9-6) Held up in last place, some headway over 4f out, ridden and no impression from over 2f out, 6th of 9, 11l behind Sweetheart (9-10) at Folkestone 2m hcp 0-70 (5) gf.
Baan (USA) 8-1 (8-9) Led, headed over 2f out, kept on same pace, 4th of 6, 2 1/4l behind Benhego (9-4) at Lingfield 2m hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Mar.
Lapina (IRE) 4-1 (8-11) Tracked leader for 5f, ridden over 3f out, weakened 2f out, last of 6, 13l behind Mildoura (9-4) at Folkestone 1m 4f fll hcp (0-75) (5) gs in Mar.
Sir Sandicliffe (IRE) 6-1 (9-3) Mid-division, ridden 3f out, kept on same pace final 2f, no impression, 6th of 9, 9l behind Markington (8-13) at Doncaster 1m 7f app hcp 0-70 (5) gd.
Squirtle (IRE) 11-4fav (9-7) Mid-division, chased along and headway over 3f, weakened final furlong, 5th of 10, 9l behind Market Watcher (8-11) at Wolverhampton 2m hcap (6) pol in Jan.
Whitcombe Spirit 6-1 (9-1) Led, ridden 2f out, headed over 1f out, kept on same pace, lost 2nd post, 3rd of 12, 6l behind Miss Keck (9-5) at Newcastle 2m hcp 0-65 (6) gd.