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Fair Star is going the right way and isn’t opposed lightly, but LORD OF THE ALPS was having just his second outing over 1m 4f (won the first one) when a promising second at Kempton on his recent return from a break and has the potential for better still at this trip, particularly given who trains him.
Most of these have quite a lot to prove and the two that stand out are Passional and RED ALLURE. The former recorded her breakthrough win at Southwell last time and is strongly respected back in a handicap, but preference is for dual C&D winner Red Allure who responded well to new headgear when going close behind a well-handicapped rival here 15 days ago.
Rochester House is enjoying a good spell and is respected, but preference is for AUSTRALIS (NAP), who can add to his excellent all-weather record by defying top weight.
There is a wide draw for REVOLUTIONARY MAN to deal with on his first run for another new yard, but he stayed on strongly to land a Kempton handicap from stall 11 last time and this resurgent gelding is a major player again in his bid to make it three wins from his last six starts. The pick of the opposition is the admirable veteran Pour La Victoire, who has 16 wins on his CV and has been in good form at Lingfield recently.
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A 7lb rise for last weekend’s course and distance win demands a bit more of FINAL VOYAGE, but he’s going the right way and is taken to defy the handicapper. Mirage Mac can get her career back on track after a blip last time, but it could be that the main threat comes from Blue Hero – who has been picked up by owners who often do well with new recruits.
A small field but it’s quite an interesting contest. NAPPER TANDY was strong at the finish over 1m at Kempton last time and that form has been boosted a few times since, so he’s selected to defy his 5lb penalty. The fact Bandinelli went off favourite on debut suggests he’s thought capable of better, while Lochnaver has got a bit better with each start and her pedigree suggests this much longer trip could suit.
Top of the list is the major improver OBTUSE, who scored with authority on his return to 5 furlongs here last Sunday and may well be able to defy a penalty for that success to make it four wins in a row. The big danger is Stay Smart, who hit a clear personal best with his dominant display at Newcastle and is open to more progress on his drop back in trip. Third choice is Lucky Ava, who was only just caught in a C&D maiden last time and looks interesting off an unchanged mark back in a handicap.
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