Windsor preview: Air Of Astana can breeze to victory
Air Of Astana shaped with bags of promise on his debut, and can provide in-form trainer Hugo Palmer with another winner in the 1m 2f maiden on this evening’s card at Windsor (20.00).
The gelding finished a 3 1/4 length third of nine to Rhythimcal at Leicester, travelling like much the best horse for most of the contest until weakening well inside the final furlong.
Air Of Astana was not knocked about once it was clear he would not be winning and looks sure to come on a bundle for the experience.
The winner has also gone on to run a blinder at Glorious Goodwood when runner-up to a potential Group horse in an ultra-competitive handicap, and that gives the form a strong look in the context of this contest.
Granted normal improvement, this looks a nice opportunity for Air Of Astana to open his account.
Speed The Plough disappointed last time out, but looks worth another chance to take advantage of his falling mark in the 6f handicap (18.30).
The four-year-old has just one win to his name, and that came as a juvenile when making all to score over course and distance.
Speed The Plough then missed all of last season through injury, but showed he retained ability when a good fourth of 10 to Caminel over 6f at Nottingham on his penultimate outing.
Having started life off in handicaps off a rating of 77, Speed The Plough is now able to race off a career-low of just 60 and that makes the son of Kyllachy dangerously well-treated on the pick of his form.
In the 1m handicap (19.00), Excellent Guest can go well at a big price now eased in grade.
The George Margarson trained eight-year-old has some decent form to his name in hot handicaps earlier in his career, including when winning the 2013 running of the class 2 Victoria Cup at Ascot off a mark of 93.
Excellent Guest also showed that he retained plenty of ability when winning a classified contest at Ascot last October off an official rating of 87 and is now able to race off just 82.
That is the gelding’s lowest rating for nearly five years, and Excellent Guest also now drops down into class 4 company for the first time since September 2010.
18.30: Speed The Plough (NB)
19.00: Excellent Guest
20.00: Air Of Astana (NAP)
20.30: Gioia Di Vita