Horse Racing: Alutiq should be a better class

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Alutiq takes a massive drop in class as she returns to action in the Winners Are Welcome At Betdaq Conditions Stakes at Kempton.

The three-year-old proved an admirable flag-bearer for Eve Johnson Houghton last year, winning a maiden and a conditions event before tackling some really decent juvenile heats.

Having run creditably from an unfavourable draw in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, she turned in a fair effort to bag fifth-place money in the Super Sprint before again not being far off the pace in the Lowther at York.

She was no threat to winner Lucky Kristale that day and again found a few too good in claiming fourth in a Listed heat at Salisbury behind Joyeuse.

Connections decided to pitch her into the Group One Cheveley Park on her final outing and it was no surprise to see her finish last after racing prominently in such good company.

While Alutiq was found wanting in that sort of class, this more modest affair should be within her compass, particularly as she is vastly favoured at the weights. Officially rated upwards of 5lb above all her rivals, Alutiq should take all the beating.

First Warning is worth supporting as he has his first start outside of maiden company in the Betdaq - The Sports Betting Exchange Handicap. He finally opened his account at the third attempt at Kempton last October, showing plenty of determination to win by three-quarters of a length.

The handicapper has allotted an initial mark of 78 for Tim Pitt’s runner and he could turn out to be a shade better than that.

La Estrella can bring up a record 24th victory on the all-weather in the 32Red On The App Store Claiming Stakes at Lingfield.

The 11-year-old is without doubt at his complete best at Southwell but with the notable landmark now in sight, trainer Don Cantillon is clearly keen to strike while the iron is hot.