Let Me Handle It ready to stake his claims as genuine Derby contender
Talented Let Me Handle It can continue his march towards the Group One Hong Kong Derby on March 20 with a strong performance for trainer Caspar Fownes in the Class Two Southwell Handicap (1,600m).
Fownes has given his High Chaparral gelding six weeks between runs as a freshen up before a final thrust at the four-year-old classic and, after a solid trial win at Happy Valley on January 8, Let Me Handle It looks ready to stamp his claims as a genuine Derby contender.
Let Me Handle It wore blinkers for the first time in that trial over 1,200m, but Fownes is likely to keep that trick up his sleeve until the big target, and has entered his charge without the head-gear. Brett Doyle has built a good relationship with this galloper and has ridden him twice for two wins, the first of which was a five-length demolition job over this course on September 18.
This field is much stronger than the one he towelled up that day but, from barrier three, Doyle should be able to give him a similar trail into the race. If the gelding can show his usual burst of speed over the final 400m, then he should be able to handle this higher rated field also.
North Hill could prove the most difficult to chase down for Let Me Handle It, whose superior turn of foot should eliminate any backmarkers from the equation barring bad luck in running, and Maxime Guyon is sure to have the Andreas Schutz-trained gelding in a prominent position from the inside draw.
North Hill has been more effective over the slightly longer trip of 1,800m but, if Guyon is able to get him out from behind the leaders and sprinting early, the seven-year-old will take some gunning down over the mile with 117 pounds on his back.
The John Moore-trained Soaring Dragon will also be out and running to lead from gate 12, and if Darren Beadman can pinch any sort of advantage at the front, then the seven-year-old may also prove one to catch.
If Let Me Handle It were to be have bad luck in running or just peak on his effort in the final stages, look for fellow Derby aspirant Semos to pick up the crumbs with Brett Prebble in the saddle for trainer David Ferraris.
The four-year-old produced an eye-catching performance on debut to finish second to Sichuan Success over this course on International Day and has also enjoyed a short freshen-up since.
The Caspar Fownes-trained
Let Me Handle It has won three races from eight starts and has earned: HK$1.87m