Although he looks more exposed than a lot of the field I still think Abhaath looks relatively well handicapped and if improving now a 3 year old I think he could go close for Ed Dunlop on his debut for the yard. Until now, Abhaath was Saeed Bin Suroor and Godolphin and although he's probably been a bit disappointing I think the fact that Hamdan Al Maktoum has picked him up demonstrates that he is still fancied to make some progression. After making a poor debut when an odds on shot last June, he ran a much better race at Salisbury on his 2nd start when finishing a decent 4th beaten by 3.5L. The form of that race is strong with the winner Stipulate a very impressive winner of a Listed race and now a 103 rated animal. Furthermore, the 2nd Devdas has won off a mark of 75 and has been consist off 81 and the 6th Gabrials Gift won his next start and is rated 84 on the AW. On the basis of that run, Abhaath's current mark of 71 looks pretty workable.
After disappointing again on his 3rd start, Abhaath was handed an opening handicap mark of 68 and ran a very good race to finish a 1/2L beaten 2nd switched to handicaps at Wolves last September. He had to switch wide coming into the final turn and was never closer than at the finish suggesting he'd improve for the step up from the 7f trip, and he gets a mile for the first time in his career tonight. The form of that race looks strong with the winner repeating that feat on his next start and the very unlucky in running Come On Blue Chip winning his next two and succeeding off an 18lb higher mark this year. 3 starts back, Abhaath ran another very good race when following home his then stable mate Oscan at Brighton off a mark of 70 in 2nd in first time cheekpieces. From his wide stall, Abhaath had to run wide throughout and again stayed on all the way to the line as if a step up in trip would suit. The 3rd and 4th have won again since and there was nothing wrong with that effort.
2 starts back off a mark of 72 Abhaath adopted front running tactics for the first time when finishing a 3.25L beaten 3rd. He faded in the final furlong as the impressive winner flashed past him and I don't think the tactics that day really suited. Even still, the form of that race is solid with the first 2 home performing well off higher marks and he didn't lose much in defeat. On his final start last November, he was disappointing but with that being his 7th run in 4 months as a 2 year old I'm willing to forgive it. Tonight Abhaath is stepped up to a Class 4 after being primarily campaigned in Class 5 races last year and he'll have to be very sharp to land this after 6 months off the track. Retained Al Maktoum jockey Paul Hanagan takes the ride tonight which represents his sole action of the day which could be significant. Cheekpieces are dispensed with tonight and the first time tongue tie is applied tonight which may bring about some improvement. Trainer Ed Dunlop is in good form and the draw should hopefully allow him to settle in behind the pace on the rail. Although he's unproven after a break and could easily need the run, he represents Dunlop's only runner tonight and I think the 18/1 on offer negates the fear of the break. Although up against some unexposed horses that may be a fair bit better than their current marks, I think he is much too big at his current price and hopefully he'll be ready first time up to land this race.