Great St Wilfrid handicap preview: Gunmetal worth a shot in Ripon sprintPublished on: August 15, 2019Author: David Metcalf
Gunmetal looks weighted to make a bold bid to retain his crown in the 6f Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon on Saturday (15:15).
This David Barron trained six-year-old won three of his six starts last season, with the last of those successes coming in this contest.
He made all and ran on strongly to easily beat Dakota Gold by 2 3/4 lengths off a mark of 97 and now meets that re-opposing rival on 3lb better terms.
Prior to that, Gunmetal had run well in the ultra-competitive Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood when a 3 3/4 lengths 11th of 26 to Gifted Master off a rating of 98.
The Clodovil gelding has also posted some solid efforts in four starts this season without getting his head in front.
In the second of those at York, Gunmetal ran on strongly to finish a never nearer 1 3/4 lengths fourth of 19 to Duke Of Firenze off a mark of 103.
He backed that up with an excellent three-length sixth of 26 to Cape Byron in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, and was far from disgraced last time up when 15th of 27 to Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup this year.
Gunmetal has since been dropped 2lb and his revised rating of 101 gives him a big shout at the weights on the pick of his form.
He is also versatile as regards ground, so has lots going for him and can be backed at a tempting 12/1 with Paddy Power.
Dakota Gold feared most in Great St Wilfrid Handicap
Despite being worse off at the weights with Gunmetal, the aforementioned Dakota Gold looks sure to make a bold bid to go one better than 12 months ago.
This five-year-old, who hails from the yard of sprint supremo Michael Dods, went on to win in good style at Ayr and looks to have been laid out for this.
He has had just two starts this season, finishing an eye-catching fifth of 13 to Fool For You at Newcastle before landing a hot 15-runner affair at York three weeks ago.
Dakota Gold made all in the latter and, when strongly pressed inside the final furlong, found plenty to score gamely by three-quarters of a length from Muscika.
He had several re-opposing rivals in-behind and the runner-up is a useful yardstick who has since run well to finish second at this venue.
It makes a 3lb rise in the weights looks more than fair. A revised rating of 96 for the son of Equiano looks exploitable, given that he has been rated as high as 100 and finished runner-up twice off 97 in the past.
Dakota Gold also goes extremely well for jockey Conor Beasley and has endured a far less taxing campaign than all his 19 rivals.
There is simply nothing not to like about his profile for this valuable prize and he can be backed at 8/1 with Ladbrokes to land the spoils.
Lake Volta another with claims in Great St Wilfrid Handicap
In a typically fierce and wide-open renewal of the Great St Wilfrid Handicap, the Mark Johnston trained Lake Volta is another that looks weighted to go well.
Like many from the yard, this four-year-old son of Raven’s Pass has been kept very busy this season and had 12 starts to date.
He has won twice, with the last of those successes coming at Goodwood back in May where he was quickly away and made all to win unchallenged by 2 1/4 lengths off a mark of 98.
Lake Volta backed that up with a fine second at Epsom off 103 and also ran very well when a 3 1/2 lengths eight of 26 to Cape Byron in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot off the same rating.
There was also lots to like about his latest effort at Glorious Goodwood two weeks ago when seventh of 27 to Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup off 100.
Lake Volta showed plenty of early pace to chase the leaders on the far side, before weakening late on and beaten five lengths.
That run showed that he remains in good shape and the form of the race reads very well in relation to this as the winner looks a pattern performer in the making.
The assessor has also been kind in dropping Lake Volta 1lb, so he is now able to race off a rating of 99 – just 1lb higher than when last successful.
It makes him a key contender from a handicapping point of view and another plus is that he is a course and distance winner.
So, with the yard continuing to bang in the winners, Lake Volta looks a solid each-way contender at odds of 12/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places.
Ice Age a lively outsider
The Eve Johnson Houghton trained Ice Age has finished in the frame in two of his three starts over course and distance.
As he’s become well-treated, he looks capable of outrunning his Great St Wilfrid Handicap odds. This six-year-old won twice last season, scoring off a mark of 99 at Newbury and 103 at Windsor.
Ice Age also posted some solid efforts in defeat, finishing a fine four-length fourth of 20 to Gunmetal in this off 106 and a close up 2 1/4 lengths seventh of 26 to Soffia off 105 in a Premier Handicap at The Curragh.
Soffia has since developed into a really useful sprinter who landed a Group 2 last time out and is now rated 116.
That gives the form a strong look and it was a huge run by Ice Age in trying to give Edward Lynam’s filly a whopping 25lb.
It makes the son of Frozen Power look a big player at the weights in this off his current rating of 96.
Although Ice Age has not been at his best this season, his best effort did come over course and distance when beaten just a short-head by Hyperfocus.
So, at 20/1 with William Hill – who are paying five places – Ice Age appeals each-way and thus completes this Great St Wilfrid Handicap preview.