Wolverhampton preview: Gothic Empire ready to rule
Gothic Empire has been given a chance by the assessor and can get back on the winning trail in the 7f handicap on this evening’s card at Wolverhampton (19.45) now returned to the scene of his sole career success.
The Marco Botti trained gelding shaped with bags of promise when fourth on debut as a juvenile, and duly improved for the experience when landing a maiden over course and distance in facile fashion.
Gothic Empire cruised clear to score by 4 1/2 lengths, and the third home Who Dares Wins has since gone on to land a hat-trick and is now rated 85.
That gives the form a strong look, especially as Who Dares Wins finished eight lengths behind Gothic Empire.
It suggests that the selection is potentially well-treated off his current mark of 76 having started life off in handicaps on an initial rating of 85.
Although Gothic Empire has failed to live up to expectations in three subsequent outings, all those runs have come on the turf and the son of Dark Angel could prove a different proposition now returned to the Tapeta surface.
It could well be that the three-year-old turns out to be a synthetics specialist, and with a promising 3lb claimer booked Gothic Empire looks weighted to take all the beating if that proves to be the case.
In the 6f handicap (19.15), Ben Hall looks decent value to score an overdue success.
The gelding had some useful form to his name as a juvenile when trained by John Gosden, finishing seventh of 24 in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and a decent 3 1/4 length sixth of 10 in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.
Ben Hall went on to land a 6f conditions stakes contest at Lingfield on his first start last year off an official rating of 97, but his form then tailed off badly.
Now in the care of Ruth Carr, Ben Hall is able to race off a career-low mark of just 61 and that gives him major claims from a handicapping perspective.
The son of Bushranger has also been shaping better than his form figures suggest, and may well be suited by a return to an artificial surface.
18.15: Phyllis Maud
19.15: Ben Hall (NB)
19.45: Gothic Empire (NAP)
20.15: Fool To Cry