PRICE BOOSTS MAX BET £10
1.15 - bet365 Handicap (5f)
Nelson Gay made a winning comeback on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last month in first-time cheekpieces and should have a say in proceedings again carrying a low weight. That said, the trio of First Edition, Nomadic Empire and CHARLIE FELLOWES won't go down easily. The former pair are returning from winter recesses and should be monitored in the betting.
Charlie Fellowes tends to be ridden forward and he had a near-miss at Lingfield in February in a three-runner affair, just giving best to a next-time-out winner in the end. He himself meanwhile was a bit too keen back there last month in a Class 3 contest over 6f and didn't quite get home.
That however was a strong contest for the grade and the form has been held up in a positive light by plenty of the protagonists since. The drop back to 5f looks a positive for George Scott's charge now and he was an easy winner in his only other start with William Buick on board. The rider returns here and is in super fettle. They have fine claims.
1.50 - bet365 Esher Cup Handicap (1m)
A really good three-year-old handicap is promised here with no less than six last-time-out winners in a field of ten contenders. The likes of Without Revenge, Melody Of Life and Buxted Too fit that category but will seemingly need further progress to be landing this prize.
Of more interest would be Rifleman, winner on the all-weather at Kempton back in November and the mount of Ryan Moore for Coolmore and the John & Thady Gosden team. He won well in that novice event with three next-time-out winners behind, including now 90-rated Rohaan. There should be more to come from him this season and a mark of 87 is eminently workable.
Dingle shaped very well in a hot Newbury handicap just seven days ago, finishing third, and will surely be in the mix if this doesn't come too soon for him while Tawaareq is one that should improve this term for Sir Michael Stoute.
This may go however to Godolphin representative QUINTILLUS for Charlie Appleby and William Buick. His Kempton success over 7f back in the autumn was taking and compares well on the clock with that of Rifleman over the same C&D considering he did it at his ease. The Dubawi colt should be sharper for his return at Chelmsford this month where he attempted to make all in a Conditions event against higher-rated rivals and gave way late on. Appleby's three-year-old's are in excellent tune and, with that run behind him, Quintillus should come forward from it.
2.25 - bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (Group 3, 1m2f)
Waldkonig has a fitness edge on plenty of these having landed a handicap at Pontefract in determined fashion on his return recently. That came off a mark of 101 and the Kingman colt is almost certainly capable of making his mark in pattern company in the months to come. He's a worthy market leader here.
He's got no easy task, however. Highest Ground took his measure at Haydock last summer and Sir Michael Stoute's charge then found only Thunderous too strong in the rescheduled Dante at York afterwards. They are both in the mix, Mark Johnston's runner having missed the remainder of last season after a minor setback. He's won 4-5 starts and is a major player.
The two older horses, Desert Encounter and Extra Elusive, are solid benchmarks but it will be a shock if this doesn't go the way of one of the four-year-olds.
The aforementioned trio are much-respected but perhaps at the forecast prices, it's worth siding with HUKUM for Owen Burrows and Jim Crowley. The son of Sea The Stars was a Royal Ascot handicap winner off 90 on his comeback summer and backed that up with a decisive Newbury win in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes in August over 1m5f. He didn't quite get home in the St Leger (fifth) on his final start and drops back in trip here.
He's never tackled this trip before, and it may be shorter than his optimum, but he's very much one to expect better from this season and isn't short of the pace required to be in the shake-up.
3.00 - bet365 Mile (Group 2, 1m)
It's great to see PALACE PIER back for another season and this top-level miler should be able to get his campaign off on the right note here. He pummelled the opposition in an all-weather handicap last June on his return and there are no fears about seeing him do his best first time up.
Group 1 wins were recorded in the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot and Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville afterwards before he was turned over on Champions Day at Ascot in the QEII when he lost a shoe in the mud. That's the only defeat of his career and it's not hard to draw a line through it. He's the class act for the Gosdens and Frankie Dettori today.
Happy Power handles all ground equally but has done the bulk of his winning over shorter distances, so he has work to do considering he concedes a 3lb penalty against an out-and-out miler of proven quality.
The interesting one therefore is Khuzaam for Roger Varian. The gelded son of Kitten's Joy has been making waves on the all-weather in recent times. He twice went close in Listed company at Kempton and Deauville late last year and is 2-2 since returning in early March at Chelmsford in a Conditions race. He left his rivals flailing on All-Weather Finals Day at Lingfield this month, scoring by some five-lengths from the smart Mums Tipple, and merits a crack at this prize, though he does need to prove he can show that same level of form back on grass.
3.35 - bet365 Classic Trial (Group 3, 1m2f)
Recovery Run just held off Lone Eagle in a mile maiden here last August but that form was reversed in the Group 3 Zetland Stakes at Newmarket (1m2f, soft) in October, Martyn Meade's charge proving very game having made plenty of the running. They are much-respected on ratings and should be the mix.
Sir Lucan is stepped up in class/trip by Aidan O'Brien having won a soft-ground Cork event on his final start last season. He had earlier run well in a Group 2 and is open to further progress now.
Irish Legend won both starts last season and the Sea The Stars colt is another with plenty upside for Hugo Palmer on his return, while in-form Charlie Appleby accounts for two of Godolphin's three runners in Yibir (William Buick) and Adayar (James Doyle) - both with claims.
Doyle was on TRAWLERMAN for his impressive Pontefract maiden win this month and the John & Thady Gosden-trained son of Golden Horn is one to pay maximum respect. He strung his rivals out like the washing in that Yorkshire rout and is likely to remain on an upwards curve. Frankie Dettori is on board here and, at forecast odds of around 15/2, they make plenty each-way appeal.
4.10 - bet365 Fillies' Novice Stakes (1m2f)
Nash Nasha is one of only two with experience in this line-up. The Godolphin filly, by Dubawi out of Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Just The Judge, won a Lingfield novice over a mile on second and final start last summer when odds-on to do so. This is almost certainly a much tougher assignment on paper but she's one that can make progress this season and her trainer's three-year-old crop are doing very well already.
Haizoom was too green to achieve anything on her Lingfield debut in December but the daughter of Sea The Stars is surely better than that.
It's the newcomers however that make for interesting reading. Any of CHIASMA, Royal Harmony, Breccia and Loving Dash could be good enough to have a major say. The market will reveal plenty but it's tough not to love the claims of the John & Thady Gosden newcomer in the Khalid Abdullah colours. By Galileo and a sister to the mighty Frankel, she's bred to be top drawer and comes to the racecourse representing the very best in the business and with an obvious winning chance. Royal Harmony is another with lots of positives on her page and could be set for a leading role as well.
4.40 - bet365.com Handicap (1m2f)
Juan De Montalban ended last season with a ready success in a Goodwood novice over 1m1f but that came on heavy ground and he'll need to bring a bit more to the party on return to action meeting his quicker surface.
In any case, SEA THE SHELLS could be a very tough nut to crack for Mark Johnston and Franny Norton. A colt by Sea The Stars, he made a winning start on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton (1m1½f) in February and had no trouble following up under a 7lb penalty back there last month.
He's holding entries in the Dante and the Derby and should prove hard to hold on turf bow.
Fabilis won two of his first three starts on turf last season before coming up shy in a Group 3 at Newmarket (1m2f, soft) in October. He's almost certainly going to prefer this surface and January's below-par all-weather run at Southwell is forgivable coming as it did on that quirky Fibresand surface.
Arthur's Realm has improvement to find on handicap bow but Valorant - the only filly in the line-up - was promising last season and has scope for better in the months ahead. This isn't the easiest starting place for Roger Charlton's daughter of Showcasing.