As the Racing League moves into its penultimate week, just 16 points separate the top five teams in the table.
The action returns to Lingfield – host of week three – for round five on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Racing, with team ThoroughBid looking to defend their narrow advantage at the top.
ThoroughBid (245 points) lead Goat Racing by three, with Team talkSPORT third on 232 and Team Swish fourth on 231, just ahead of Team BullionVault.
Sky Sports Racing’s senior analyst Jamie Lynch has cast his expert eye over the six races at Lingfield and selected his ones to watch and lively longshots…
Race 1 (5.10) – five furlongs
One to watch – ELECTRIC LOVE (Goat Racing)
Of the four three-year-olds in the line-up, Electric Love looks the most progressive.
Unraced at two but quickly making up for lost time with back-to-back wins at Yarmouth in early-summer, she lost little in defeat, as favourite, at Wolverhampton last time when there wasn’t much pace and Newyorkstateofmind crucially got first run on her.
Laura Pearson, on board for both wins, has clearly struck up a good relationship with the filly.
Race 2 (5.40) – six furlongs
One to watch – AKKERINGA (Racehorse Lotto)
The MVP of the Racing League so far is Marks Bear, having accumulated 43 points for Team BullionVault with a first and a second, but I think Akkeringa can reverse placings with him from Doncaster on raceday two, when the pair were second and third.
For one thing, there’s a 2lb difference in the weights, but above that Akkeringa came from further back than the first two at Doncaster and was still closing at the line, suggesting he is still getting better.
Sectional splits show that Akkeringa covered the second half of the race three lengths faster than Marks Bear.
Lively longshot – ADDITIONAL (ODDSbible)
The tag of having Group One winner Aclaim as his full-brother has been impossible for additional to live up to, but it is still an ongoing recommendation, just about, and it probably helps him that he is back over six furlongs after an unproductive spell at five furlongs.
He is the only course winner in the line-up, which is a positive, and Martyn Meade’s string has turned a corner of late – his last nine runners have generated three seconds and two firsts, including Racing League winner Bake.
Race 3 (6.10) – seven furlongs
One to watch – TALBOT (Ireland)
He couldn’t justify it on the day, excusably so, but it was still significant that Talbot was favourite on his debut for Joseph O’Brien on raceday three at Lingfield, on the All-Weather, when six furlongs was too sharp for him.
On top of that, it was nearly impossible to come from off the pace the way the surface was riding then.
Reverting to turf, and to seven furlongs, should show him in a much better light here and it is clear from the way he was backed last time that Team Ireland believe they have recruited a well-handicapped horse.
Race 4 (6.40) – seven furlongs and 135 yards
One to watch – CAROLUS MAGNUS (ThoroughBid)
We’ll see if it develops that way, but on paper this is the best of the 30 handicaps served up so far by the Racing League, with six runners rated 87 or higher.
Rapid-riser Hong Kong Harry has been beaten only once in his life, high-flyer Billhilly produced his fourth win of the season in the Racing League on raceday three, and hot handicap debutant Carolus Magnus already has some exceptionally strong form to his name.
At Newmarket, Carolus Magnus comfortably saw off Magical Land, who is now rated 88, and then at Chelmsford he went down by just a neck to none other than Just Beautiful, who subsequently won a Listed race before finishing in and around the likes of Mother Earth, Alcohol Free and Lady Bowthorpe when a close-up sixth in the Group One Falmouth Stakes.
Race 5 (7.10) – one-mile-and-two-furlongs
One to watch – ANYTHINGTODAY (Racehorse Lotto)
After going two years without a win, Anythingtoday promptly had a new lease of life at Newmarket last time following a stable switch, another advert for the power of trainer George Boughey.
The more you review that race the more you think Ranchero took some catching that day, a three-year-old making his handicap debut as favourite for the Gosden yard, and a 4lb rise for it may undersell Anythingtoday, who was rated 99 at his peak.
That Newmarket win was over a mile but he has been most successful at this distance.
Lively longshot – GLENTANEOUS (Team ODDSbible)
He may be in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ here, in that one-mile-and-four-furlongs was too far at Ascot in July, a mile was too short at Lingfield a fortnight ago, but this trip may be just right.
On his one go at this distance in his life, at Royal Ascot, he did pretty well to finish seventh (of 14) in a far stronger handicap than this, and he has a 3lb lower mark now, as well as easier competition.
He is only a three-year-old, and did not race at all at two, so still has a ticket to improve, especially at this trip, plus he is already an All-Weather winner at Lingfield.
Race 6 (7.40) – one-mile-and-four-furlongs
Two Racing League winners go head-to-head in this, namely CORBULO (ODDSbible) and SWORD BEACH (Remulate Racing), but both have questions to answer.
Will Corbulo prove as potent upped in trip after winning over a-mile-and-two-furlongs at Doncaster, and will Sword Beach be able to dictate to the same extent as he did at Windsor last week, when chased home by RED OCTOBER (Goat Racing)?
From her position, in the rear division, POWERFUL AGGIE (Ireland) did well to finish as close as fourth given the way the race went around here a fortnight ago, and it is a good bet this will be truer run given the make and shape of the field.
That is likely to bring her stamina into play all the more but, rather than rely solely on others, a tweak in tactics would be to her benefit as she looks more a grinder than a glider.