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Thirsk preview: Rex Imperator ready to rule

Rex Imperator can take advantage of a huge drop in the weights to land the 6f feature handicap on today’s competitive eight-race card at Thirsk (16.30).

The gelding had some very smart for to his name in 2013/14 when trained by William Haggas, winning the Stewards Cup at Goodwood off a mark of 104 and finishing an excellent second in a Listed contest at Windsor off an official rating of 110.

Now in the care of David O’Meara, Rex Imperator is able to race in this class 3 contest off just 83.

That is a huge 21lb lower than when last successful and a career-low.

It gives Rex Imperator outstanding claims from a handicapping perspective, and the six-year-old comes into the contest on the back of two solid efforts to finish fourth in 7f contests at Thirsk and York.

The drop back down to 6f, over which Rex Imperator has notched all three of his career successes, is sure to suit and with underfoot ideal this looks a good opportunity for the son of Royal Applause to get back to winning ways.

Hot Spice is another that has become very well-treated, and looks the answer to the 2m handicap (16.00) now returned to the scene of his last success.

The Mick Easterby trained gelding was in terrific form last summer when winning three times, and the last of those successes came over course and distance.

The seven-year-old made all and ran on tenaciously to score by 1/2 a length off a mark of 72, and backed that up with a solid second at Newcastle of 75.

Hot Spice has since failed to trouble the judge in five subsequent outings, including three this season, but the assessor has cut him plenty of slack as a result and the son of Kodiac is now able to race off 68.

That is 4lb lower than when last successful, and it’s also interesting the connections are now putting up Graham Gibbons in the saddle for the first time this season.

Gibbons partnered Hot Spice to two of his successes last summer, and his booking suggests a much improved run is expected.

Selections:
14.00: Mecca’s Missus
14.30: Dylan Alexander
15.00: Euxton
15.30: Ypres
16.00: Hot Spice (NB)
16.30: Rex Imperator (NAP)
17.00: Calima Breeze
17.30: Lone Star Boy