Newbury preview: Spring Cup (15:25)
The Richard Hannon-trained five-year-old has won three of his nine starts on the turf, and showed progressive form in 2013 when landing back-to-back contests at Sandown and Newmarket.
Brownsea Brink also ran very well to be placed on his first two starts last season, including when 2 1/4 length third in this race to Gabrial’s Kaka from an unfavourable draw in stall three.
Jockey Richard Hughes had to drop in Brownsea Brink to get in behind the pace down the middle of the track, and having made good headway to have every chance at the furlong marker the son of Cadeaux Genereux was unable to find any extra near the finish.
Given how the race panned out it was an excellent effort, and Brownsea Brink was also far from disgraced next time up when finishing midfield in the 25-runner Victoria Cup at Ascot.
Although he has not been seen since, Brownsea Brink has a good record fresh and is able to race in this off the a rating of 93 – the same as 12 months ago.
That gives Brownsea every chance from a handicapping perspective, especially as he has bagged a good draw in stall 17 and has the services of Cam Hardie in the saddle whose claim takes off another 3lb.
There are plenty of dangers and the biggest may well prove to be Buckstay.
Trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, the gelding posted a series of solid efforts last season, winning at Kempton before finishing a fine short-head second of 19 to Extremity at Goodwood.
The five-year-old also ran a cracker when fourth of 31 to Bronze Angel in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket off 92, and rounded off the season with a decent ninth of 27 behind the same horse at Ascot off a mark of 93 when racing on the unfavoured near side.
Those efforts read well in the context of this contest, and Buckstay showed that he was capable of bagging a big prize this season when a fine second to Chatez in the Spring Mile at Doncaster last month.
With that run under his belt, and big fields clearly not a problem, Buckstay looks a leading player from stall 20 in the hands of Jim Crowley.