Past Winners » Mirza


Pearl Ice may turn out to be a very good sprinter, or at least a high class handicapper, but he is a fashionable horse now and he is very short at 2/1 for a competitive Saturday handicap, especially when his main target, the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, is in two weeks’ time.

He obviously has a big reputation – he has been sent off at no bigger than 3/1 for each of his three runs this season despite field sizes of 20, 12 and 13 – he was undeniably unlucky two runs ago at Thirsk, and similarly undeniably impressive at Ripon on Wednesday, but this is a big step up, even if it is still not his main target. The fact that his trainer believes he needs a further penalty to get into the Wokingham field, and that he is running him back so quickly today in order to try to pick one up, has led to him being a false price today. He may well win, but he beat a field of largely exposed handicappers at Ripon, several of whom had been in good form at the start of the season but who are now higher in the handicap as a result, and he is up in grade today. Today’s ground will be the softest he has ever encountered and, while he handles good to soft, there has to be a slight concern on genuinely soft ground until he has proved himself on it. Assessing his chance today in isolation, he is a fair bit too short at 2/1.

With the favourite taking up so much of the market there are several in here at bigger prices than they probably should be … Mirza also looks overpriced (as well as Irish Heartbeat) and I am getting him on side too at 10/1. Rae Guest’s gelding has been as good as ever this season, winning well at Newbury on his return from 3lb out of the limited handicap, and that has turned out to be a strong race. Lui Rei, who was third, has won twice since, and Confessional, who was sixth, won next time and has run two other crackers since then.

Mirza holds Medicean Man on that form, he ran another really good race next time at Pontefract, just having to give best to Seal Rock, and although on the face of it he ran slightly below par at Newmarket on his latest run, he was stuck out on the outside of the near side group there, possibly not the best of the ground, and he ran on well enough.

Today’s race probably isn’t quite as competitive as that one, Richard Hughes takes over in the saddle today – he has won on the horse twice before from three rides – the horse is still lightly-raced, he has his conditions, and he has the ability to win this.

MIRZA WON (ADV 10/1 [R4], SP 7/1)