Wolverhampton preview: Afjaan holds all the aces
David Metcalf | November 16, 2015
Afjaan shaped as if ahead of his mark when runner-up last time out, and can go one better to land the 7f handicap on today’s card at Wolverhampton (16.25).
The William Haggas trained gelding shaped with bags of promise on his sole run as a juvenile when fourth of 16 to the now 97-rated Rare Rhythm at Newmarket, and showed a good attitude to get off the mark when overcoming a lengthy absence to beat Pensax Boy by 1/2 a length at Beverley last month.
Afjaan showed plenty of pace to track the leaders before staying on strongly under a hands and heels ride to get up close home and win going away.
The son of Henrythenavigator was value for far more than the winning margin, and was allotted what looked a lenient opening handicapping mark of 79 on the back of that success.
Afjaan to improve
Although Afjaan failed to take advantage of it when a neck second to Second Wave over 1m at Kempton seven days ago he lost little in defeat having been forced to race wide throughout.
The three-year-old looked all over the winner when hitting the front a furlong from home, before getting collared close home in the dying strides.
It was a performance which suggested Afjaan needed keeping firmly onside, and the front two pulled three lengths clear of the third to give the form a solid look.
The drop back to 7f also looks sure to suit, and with the prospect of plenty more improvement to come Afjaan looks weighted to take all the beating off an unchanged mark.
Archipelgo can go round
In 1m 4f handicap (16.55), Archipeligo can provide in-form trainer iain Jardine with another winner.
The gelding has won two of his four starts at the venue, and ran well over course and distance last time out when runner-up to Nolecce.
Although now 5lb higher in the weights, the rise is off-set by the 7lb claim of apprentice jockey Kyle Curry and taking it into account Archipeligo is able to race off 2lb lower than when last successful.
That gives the four-year-old major claims from a handicapping perspective, and another plus is that Jardine has a tremendous strike rate of 33 per cent at the venue in the past 12 months.
13.55: Sailor’s Way
14.55: Jack Bear
15.25: Moon Eyes
15.55: Corporal Maddox
16.25: Afjaan (NAP)
16.55: Archipeligo (NB)
17.25: Silver Quay
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