POPMASTER created a good impression when making a winning debut over course and distance last month, value for extra than the three-quarter length winning margin, doing well to pass the whole field in the straight and be well on top at the finish. He has to carry a penalty now, but Ed Walker’s juveniles invariably improve for their first run and he should be able to follow up.
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This looks a weak race that won’t take much winning, and slight preference is for BLACK BOX, who is proving steadily progressive. She ran her best race on fibresand debut at Southwell last time, but she proved herself equally effective at this track over seven furlongs on her previous start. The speed she showed that day suggests she will have no problem dropped back to six furlongs and she just about sets the standard on form.
ILZA’EEM cost £260,000 at the breeze-ups earlier this year and attracted support ahead of his debut over course and distance earlier this month. He made a promising start, knowing what was required of him but unable to go with the favourite inside the final two furlongs. That rival had the benefit of experience and looked above average, while Ilza’eem seems sure to improve for that run, and looks a banker for a race like this.
Given trainer David Menuisier often adapts a patient approach with his horses, it was encouraging that AUTUMN TWILIGHT was able to make a winning start in a seven-furlong minor event at Salisbury in October. It is probably best to put a line through he run in the Horris Hill at Newbury last time, not suited by coming over to the stand-side rail on his own while the race developed in the middle of the track. Autumn Twilight remains with potential now handicapping, and an opening mark of 78 looks lenient on his debut form.
This looks an open race, but DON’T LOOK BACK is still very much unexposed after shaping well in a couple of races earlier this year. He only ran to a similar level as on debut when hitting the frame at Lingfield in September, proving his stamina for this trip and leaving the impression he could have more to offer. Don’t Look Back has been gelded since his latest run, and is the type to do better now handicapping for a yard that know the time of day.
I’M AVAILIBLE took advantage of a much-reduced mark to open his account for his yard in a seven-furlong handicap at this course in October and has run to a similar level in defeat since. He shaped better than the bare result at Lingfield last time, travelling as well as any and still to be asked an effort when denied a run at the furlong pole. I’m Available can race from the same mark now and looks a big player returned to this venue.
TRUE BELIEF is generally consistent and was in good form back on turf in September and October, finishing runner-up at Lingfield before recording his second career win in a heavy-ground handicap at Yarmouth. He ran a cracker dropped to six furlongs at the same track last time and will remain of interest back on an artificial surface. This will be his first start at a mile but the way he finishes suggests he’s well worth a try at the longer trip.
A case can be made for a few but course and distance winner BIG COUNTRY is very well treated on his best form and looks very interesting having rejoined Mick Appleby. He is now 16 lb below his last winning mark in a handicap, and ran well when runner-up at Chelmsford on his final start for Jamie Osbourne in August. Big Country has since been repurchased by old connections and a big run is expected.
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