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Éclair D’Ainay is very lightly raced with only five career starts despite being seven years old, but he looks to have plenty of ability and this season he could well make up for lost time. Thought good enough to contest a Grade 2 novice hurdle, he missed two years before returning at Carlisle over hurdles in October. Clearly the run was needed, as he weakened badly in the closing stages of the race, after travelling with plenty of purpose through the race.
He was then switched to chasing for his handicap debut at Chepstow and was extremely impressive when bolting up from a mark of 116. The second and third were easy winners on their next start, while the fourth was only beaten a nose on his next start. Even the seventh won next time, so the form looks really strong and the 14lb rise really was warranted. He steps up in grade but he might well be capable of improving enough for defy the rise in the handicap.
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Smiths Cross was a well-beaten fifth in that Chepstow race that Éclair D’Ainay won and as already highlighted, the form of that race has worked out really nicely. Las time at Newcastle stepped up to 3 miles, he was travelling well within himself at the back of the field when falling half way down the back straight. He has failed to win since his bumper days but he was rated as high was 128 just over a year ago and now finds himself on a mark of just 114. He looks worth taking a chance on at what looks likely to be a decent price.
Herculean’s career probably hasn’t hit the heights that his impressive winning debut at Ascot as a two- year-old might have promised. He hasn’t stood much racing in the interim, with only 10 career starts in four seasons but he has only had the two starts for Stuart Williams, so you would imagine that he will win a decent handicap at some stage for his new connections.
He went close on his debut for Williams at Newmarket last July when only being three quarters of a length off a mark of 89. He did disappoint on his only other start for the yard at Ascot but the yard weren’t in great form during the last turf season. Herculean returns with the Williams yard absolutely flying it, with seven winners from their last 19 runners, a strike rate of 37 per cent. Catching Herculean fresh may be the the best time to back him.
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