Sir Dancealot shaped nicely on seasonal reappearance, so now dropped in class looks the one to be on in the feature race at York on Friday, the Ganton Stakes (16:35) – a Listed contest over an extended 7f.
This five-year-old, who hails from the yard of David Elsworth and can be backed at 11/4 with 888Sport, enjoyed a tremendous time last season when winning on four occasions – including twice at Group 2 level – and is also a course and distance winner.
In the last of those in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury, Sir Dancealot was held-up as usual by regular pilot Gerald Mosse before bursting through and showing a smart turn of foot to beat Dream Of Dreams by 1 3/4 lengths.
He has since been campaigned at the highest level and posted a really solid effort when a 2 1/4 lengths fifth of 16 to One Master in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Arc day in October.
The son of Sir Prancelot was also far from disgraced at Newbury last month in the Group 1 Lockinge when sixth of 14 to Mustashry, where he pressed the leaders two from home before weakening to be beaten 6 1/4 lengths over a 1m trip which stretches his stamina to the limit.
Sir Dancealot is sure to strip much fitter for that and the drop back down to this trip over which he has a tremendous strike rate of 42 per cent is a big plus.
This is also a far more suitable assignment and Mosse, who has a 33 per cent strike rate on him, is once again in the saddle so this looks like a great opportunity for him to land a ninth career success.
Happy Power feared most
Should he fail to live up to expectations, then Happy Power could be the one to take advantage.
This Andrew Balding trained three-year-old, who can be backed at 5/2 with Bethard, has won three of his six starts and looked a pattern performer in the last of those at Newbury on seasonal reappearance when quickening clear to impressively land a handicap by five lengths.
He has since run well to finish a 1 1/2 lengths third to Sage Voyage in a Listed contest at Haydock and the winner has since followed-up in a Group 3 at the same venue to give the form a solid look.
Mikmak weighted to go wel
Mikmak is back down to a workable mark and looks decent value at 14/1 with Ladbrokes in the 1m 2f handicap (14:20).
This Tim Easterby trained six-year-old won twice last season, landing a class 4 handicap at Ripon off a rating of 77 and a competitive 17-runner class 3 affair at Thirsk when beating Borodin by 2 1/2 lengths off 60.
He also ran very well when a neck second to Waarif at Ripon off 87 and when a fine 2 3/4 lengths third of 16 to stable companion Just Hiss off a mark of 87 in a class 2 at this venue.
Mikmak is now able to race in this class 4 affair off 82, just 2lb higher than when last victorious, and that makes him a big player at the weights in the pick of his form.
The son of Makfi also comes into the race having shaped well on his second start of the season when stumbling at the start before keeping on nicely to finish a 3 3/4 lengths fourth to Hats Off To Larry.
With those two spins under his belt, Mikmak should now be spot on to do himself justice and another plus is that the yard seems to be beginning to hit top gear as Easterby fired in a four-timer earlier in the week.
There are plenty of dangers in a wide-open contest in which 16 are set to go to post, but Pioneering makes more appeal than most having run really well last time out on his first start for Roger Fell when third at Haydock.
The five-year-old is currently racing off a rating that is 6lb lower than when last successful, so looks an each-way player at 12/1 with BetVictor.
Excellent Times ticks plenty of boxes
Yorkshire handler Esaterbny looks to hold leading claims of landing a double on the card with Excellent Times in the 6f fillies’ handicap (16:40).
This four-year-old daughter of Excelebration ran a blinder in this 12 months ago when denied a clear run when making a move a furlong from home and failing by just a neck to overhaul Sandra’s Secret off a mark of 80.
Excellent Times, an 8/1 shot with William Hill for this, went on to gain compensation next time up at Pontefract when running on strongly to beat Crotchet by a neck off 83, before rounding off the campaign with another solid effort when a three-quarters of a length runner-up in a class 2 at Haydock off her current of 86.
She has had just two runs this season and hinted that her time was near in the last of those at Ripon last month when an eye-catching staying on 1 1/4 lengths third to Gold Filigree.
Excellent Times appears to be building up to a big performance, goes well for jockey David Allan and is also versatile as regards ground.
This is also likely to have been her early season target and she looks to be tuned to the minute by her shrewd handler to go one better than last year and land the spoils in this valuable contest.
Philipine Cobra scored in runway style on handicap debut last time out and looks an obvious danger turned out quickly under a 6lb penalty.
The Phil McEntee trained daughter of Showcasing made a mockery of her opening handicap mark of 70 when making all to win unchallenged by six lengths.
That was just her fourth career start, so she should have plenty more to offer. A bold bid looks assured and she is a best-price 11/2 with Betfred to follow-up.