BILLY NO MATES ticks plenty of boxes in the opener. He made a successful start in handicaps when returning a convincing winner over today’s trip in soft going at Thirsk with Ventura Bay behind and gets the vote on that form despite a hike in the weights. Iconic Choice wasn’t beaten far in testing ground at Chester and returns to a mile today but today’s going is an unknown for last month’s winner at Musselburgh, Caballero, and also the novice winner Off Piste. Wild Hope, Hoffa and Ventura Glory are others worth a second glance on their handicap debuts.
Billy No Mates (IRE) 11-4fav (9-7) Chased leaders, driven and headway to lead inside final 2f, ridden over 1f out, stayed on well, asserted clear final 100 yards, won at Thirsk 1m (5) sft in Sep beating My Ukulele (8-0) by 3 1/2l, 11 ran.
Caballero (IRE) 5-4fav (9-5) Led over 1f, tracked leader, led again over 1f out, ran on well, won at Musselburgh 7f mdn stks (5) gd in Aug beating Starfighter (9-5) by 2 3/4l, 9 ran.
Iconic Choice 14-1 (9-7) Held up towards rear, ridden and ran on final furlong, nearest finish, 5th of 10, 1 1/2l behind Sparklealot (9-1) at Chester 7f (4) sft in Sep.
Off Piste 9-4 (9-2) Tracked leaders, led over 2f out, driven clear inside final furlong, easily, won at Ripon 1m stks (5) gd in Aug beating Whiskey And Water (8-12) by 3 3/4l, 8 ran.
Kilbarchan (GER) 11-1 (8-11) 7th of 8, 9 1/4l behind Quest The Moon (9-2) at Baden-Baden 7f Grp 3 stks gs in Sep.
Amber Spark (IRE) 5-1 (9-3) Held up in last pair, headway near side of group over 1f out, kept on in 4th inside final furlong, 4th of 9, 1 1/2l behind Massam (9-1) at Newcastle 1m (2) pol in Sep.
Wild Hope 6-1 (9-2) Prominent, led halfway, headed inside final furlong, no extra, 3rd of 11, 2 1/4l behind Antagonize (9-6) at Redcar 7f stks (5) gf in Jul.
Hoffa 10-1 (9-2) Led, ridden and headed over 2f out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 9, 4l behind Three Comets (9-2) at Hamilton 1m stks (5) gs in Aug.
Ventura Glory 33-1 (9-0) Tracked leaders, driven over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on well under pressure towards far side rail inside final furlong, no extra inside final 100 yards, 5th of 10, 1 1/4l behind Firelight (9-6) at Newmarket 6f fll stks (4) sft in Aug.
Ventura Bay (IRE) 8-1 (8-13) Tracked leaders, challenged when carried right over 2f out, driven and unable to quicken over 1f out, no impression in 3rd inside final furlong, 3rd of 11, 3 3/4l behind Billy No Mates (9-7) at Thirsk 1m (5) sft in Sep.
Euro Implosion (IRE) 40-1 (9-2) Held up towards rear, ridden over 2f out, never on terms, 6th of 9, 10 1/4l behind Three Comets (9-2) at Hamilton 1m stks (5) gs in Aug.