Windsor Preview: Art Scholar and SDS a potent combination
Art Scholar will relish the testing conditions at Windsor today and looks weighted to take all the beating in the 1m 2f handicap (3.30).
The Mick Appleby trained gelding was a progressive sort in 2012, with his last win coming in the ultra-competitive class 2 November Handicap at Doncaster off a mark of 93.
Art Scholar was put up to 99 for that success and, after a promising first run last season when fourth to Bay Willow at Meydan, his form tailed off badly.
The seven-year-old also failed to cut any ice in three starts this term, but then put in a better effort to finish third on soft ground at Ayr.
Although Art Scholar then disappointed next time up at Newcastle, he has since posted two solid efforts to finish fourth.
In the last of those, the son of Pyrus stayed on strongly to be beaten 3 1/4 lengths in a class 3 contest on soft ground at Nottingham, where he raced from 5lb out of the weights off a mark of 81.
Art Scholar now gets into this lower grade class 4 affair off just 80, a massive 12lb less than when last successful.
It gives him outstanding claims from a handicapping perspective, and the rare booking of Silvestre De Sousa on board for the first time suggests connections mean business. He has an overall 50 pre cent strike rate when teaming up with the Appleby yard (4 wins and 1 place from 8 rides).
In the 1m 4f handicap that closes the card (4.30), everything points to a huge run from Magicalmysterytour.
The Willie Musson trained 11-year-old posted several solid efforts to make the frame in the early part of the season, before scoring on soft ground in a class 5 contest at Nottingham three starts back off a mark of 52.
Magicalmysterytour was put up 4lb for that victory, and has failed to cut any ice in two subsequent starts on the all-weather after returning to action following a 104 day break.
However, the assessor has been quick to cut the veteran some slack, and he now gets into this class 6 contest off just 1lb higher than when winning at Nottingham.
That makes Magicalmysterytour looks weighted to take all the beating, especially now returned to the turf on soft ground which is ideal.
1.30: Magic Dancer
2.00: Piccadilly Jim
2.30: So Noble
3.00: Winning Hunter
3.30: Art Scholar (NAP)
4.30: Magicalmysterytour (NB)