The big betting race at Royal Ascot on Saturday is the Wokingham Stakes (17;00), and Spring Loaded looks terrific each-way value at 25/1 with Paddy Power in a typical wide-open renewal of the historic 7f handicap.
This Paul D’Arcy seven-year-old ran very well in this 12 months ago on seasonal reappearance when a 3 1/4 lengths ninth of 23 to Bacchus off a mark of 101.
Spring Loaded got no luck in-running whatsoever as he got hampered when making a move two from home and was then denied a clear run at the furlong marker, before keeping on to be nearest at the finish.
The son of Zebedee went on to gain some sort of compensation next time up over 5f at this venue when showing a smart turn of foot to burst clear and land a 20-runner affair in impressive fashion by two lengths from Poyle Vinnie off 100.
Sporting Loaded backed that up with an excellent 2 1/4 lengths seventh of 26 to Gifted Master in the Stewards Cup over 6f at Goodwood off 106.
He went on to round off the campaign with a solid third in a Listed contest here over 5f off an official rating of 108 and is now able to race off 4lb lower.
Spring Loaded’s current mark of 104 entitles him to be very competitive and, unlike last year, he has the benefit of a run under his belt this time around.
Useful apprentice Dylan Hogan also takes off a handy 5lb with his claim. Taking into account, Spring Loaded is running off 1lb lower than when last successful.
So, with course and big field form to his name, Spring Loaded has more going for him than his odds would suggest.
Cenotaph weighted to go well in Wokingham Stakes
Having been cut some slack by the handicapper, Cenotaph looks weighted to go well at a big price.
This seven-year-old won his first three starts last season at Chelmsford after joining Newmarket handler Jeremy Noseda from Aidan O’Brien.
In the last of those, Cenotaph came from off the pace before quickening up nicely to easily beat Charles Molson by 1 1/4 lengths off a mark of 103.
He backed that up with a fine neck second to Mazzini over 6f at Kempton off 108.
Cenotaph also ran a blinder on his first start this year at that venue when beaten a short-head by Keystroke off the same mark.
He’s now able to race off a reduced rating of 100 – 3lb lower than when last victorious – and that gives the son of War Front a big chance on the pick of his form.
Cenotaph has also won twice and been placed three times over the 6f trip of this and will be well suited by the strong end-to-end gallop.
He is also the last ever runner at the Royal meeting for Noseda who recently announced that he was retiring.
The trainer landed a monster gamble with Laddies Poker Too in this back in 2010 and Cenotaph is sure to be primed to the minute to try and give him a winning send-off.
At 20/1 with BetVictor, who are paying five places, he is another well worth considering each-way.
Perfection another to consider
Perfection was not seen to best effect last time out in a Listed contest at Haydock, but had previously run a cracker on seasonal reappearance and is a definite player with a reproduction.
That came in a Group 2 over 7f at Lingfield on her first start for David O’Meara when going down by a head to Pretty Baby after a ding dong tussle off an official rating of 100.
It was a fine effort having been off the track for 204 days after landing a Listed contest over the 6f trip of this at Newmarket on her final outing for former handler John Gosden.
The Cheveley Park Stud owned four-year-old is clearly a talented sort and the return to handicap company has to be a plus.
A mark of 100 looks workable on the pick of her form. It’s worth remembering that she ran well at this meeting when fifth of 22 to Agrotera in the 1m Sandringham Stakes when just failing to get home.
Perfection has a fine record over the 6f trip of this having won twice and been placed once in four starts.
Her handler has also been amongst the winners of late and knows what is required to win the race having saddled Out Do to land the spoils two years ago.
So, at 18/1 with Ladbrokes, who are paying six places, Perfection also appeals each-way and thus completes this Wokingham Stakes preview.