Only three four-year-olds contest this handicap for older horses and one of them, the early favourite, Haku, looks vulnerable because he is up in grade, a further five pounds higher, as well as switching back to a trip over which he was beaten in a much weaker Class 6 handicap just prior to his three recent wins.
On that run, Haku would appear to have little chance of winning this 0-85 contest off 19 pounds higher and, even though he has won three times since, one of those was in Class 6 and the other two were in Class 5.
The other two four-year-olds in today's line-up look far more convincing, particularly Julie Camacho's recent course winner, Qaasid, who returned from a 133-day break to land a 0-87 handicap over 11 furlongs at this venue last month.
The front pair pulled almost two lengths clear of the rest in that race and the runner-up was the strong favourite, a progressive three-year-old rated 87 (now 89), which is higher than any of today's opposition.
18:30 (Southwell) Qaasid
Under today's rider, Graham Lee, Qaasid was ridden to hit the front at the furlong pole before staying on strongly to get the better of a sustained duel with the runner-up.
Qaasid wasn't stopping at the line and that piece of course form looks strong in the context of today's 0-85 event, in which he has no progressive three-year-olds to worry about.
Prior to that latest win, Qaasid had gone close on his final run before his break, when he went down by only half a length in a higher-graded Class 3 handicap over today's mile-and-a-half trip on the Lingfield Polytrack (tight, left-handed).
The front trio at Lingfield had pulled nearly three lengths clear of the other ten Class 3 handicappers, so again that form is strong in the context of today's contest which, apart from the top weight, is effectively a lower-tier Class 4 handicap.
Those have been Qaasid's only two all-weather handicaps to date and, prior to them, he hadn't raced on synthetics since winning a 13-runner novices' stakes on the Kempton Polytrack as a two-year-old.
He clearly has lots more to offer in this sphere and today's wide draw in stall 9 should be of little concern because there is a long, straight run of almost two furlongs before the first bend over this trip.
Of the others, lightly-raced Vega Sicilia could go very well on this all-weather handicap debut following a comfortable win in a novices' stakes over this 12-furlong trip on the Wolverhampton Tapeta (tight, flat, left-handed) early last month, a race in which he conceded five pounds to Sir Michael Stoute's 74-rated favourite and beat her easily by more than two lengths.
On that run, his first following a short break and his first over this far, Vega Sicilia looks to have a very competitive mark of 79 for his first handicap in this sphere, to be run under a very similar set of conditions.
He looks progressive and this will be just his third all-weather appearance, so he looks a big player under his winning rider.
Next best bet: Vega Sicilia