York preview (14.10): Mahsoob poised to land hat-trick

Mahsoob looks a pattern performer in the making and can shrug aside a rise in the weights to land the 1m 2f handicap that opens proceedings on today’s seven-race card at York (14.10).

Trained by John Gosden, the colt ran out the comfortable winner of a mile maiden at Kempton back in November when sent off the heavily-backed 11/8 fav, coming from off the pace before staying on strongly to beat Razor Wind with more in hand than the one length winning margin suggests.

The runner-up has won three times since and is now rated 99, and the fourth home John Reel – who was beaten 6 3/4 lengths – has also gone on to register three successes and is now rated 100.

That is extremely strong form and Mahsoob duly took advantage of what looked a very lenient opening handicap mark of 89 to follow-up in terrific style at Newbury last month.

The son of Dansili was forced to drop in from a wide draw and race in the last trio in the early stages of the contest before making stealthy headway on the outside two from home under a confident Paul Hanagan.

Mahsoob then quickened smartly to take up the running inside the final furlong, and stayed on strongly to score by a neck despite hanging and still showing signs of inexperience.

It was a very taking performance which showed the four-year-old had a huge engine and was potentially far better than a handicapper.

If that is to prove the case an 8lb rise is unlikely to stop Mahsoob going in again, and I expect him to complete the hat-trick before going on to much better things.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor won the race three times in a row between 2007 and 2009, and his First Flight may well prove the main danger.

The gelding showed progressive for throughout last season, landing a handicap at Newmarket over today’s trip in good style before posting solid efforts to make the frame in his final two starts.

First Flight looks the type who could have more to offer as a four-year-old, but this is his first run of the campaign and he faces a stiff tasking in trying to concede 1lb to a less unexposed rival and exciting prospect in the shape of Mahsoob.