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HERMOCRATES has a string of seconds to his name, but he’s done little wrong and his turn must surely be soon. He had the blinkers back on at Wolverhampton last time, beaten only by a lightly-raced, improving four-year-old.
He lost little in defeat, and the step up to 2m now could help eke out more. Another bold bid is expected from the same mark and he is preferred to Jen’s Fella, who has been acquitting himself well of late.
UTOPIAN LAD has returned from a break in decent heart this winter and was only just touched off on this surface at Wolverhampton last time. He remains a maiden, so isn’t one to go overboard with, but he was well backed on that occasion and looks well up to winning races from this sort of mark. Splash of Verve has been running creditably and holds solid each-way claims.
PALLAS DANCER belatedly built on previous promise when causing a shock at Wolverhampton last time, seeming well suited by the longer trip, but also coming in for a strong ride (jockey received a nine-day ban afterwards).
He also seemed to appreciate the fitting of first-time cheekpieces, which had a better effect than the blinkers the time before, and he again looks the one to beat from a 3lbs higher mark. Termonator is in good form at the moment and looks to be the biggest danger.
GLEN AGAIN made appeal on paper and was relatively strong in the market ahead of his debut over a mile-and-a-quarter at this track last month. He shaped with promise too, getting the better of the odds-on favourite despite that one’s experience advantage.
But, he just proved vulnerable late on to one who relished the test of stamina. The drop back to a mile now should be in his favour, and he is preferred to Flyin’ High – who shaped very well in a strong race at Sandown on debut in July, but hasn’t been seen since.
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CITYZEN SERG is thriving this winter, recording his third win in his last four starts at Wolverhampton last time, and he will remain of interest. He won despite a troubled passage on that occasion – still travelling well when short of room two furlongs from home, but was very strong at the finish once getting a clear run. This will be his first run at Newcastle, but he should be well suited by this track given how he finished at Wolverhampton last week, and he can follow up under a 5lbs penalty.
FAYATHAAN opened his account at this course on his final start for Richard Fahey in October and got his first win for these connections at Lingfield 11 days ago. He was well suited by the return to a handicap that day, while also proving that he has no problem staying 7 furlongs.
Fayathaan has a 6lbs penalty to carry now, but the majority of that is negated by Laura Pearson’s 5lbs claim, and another bold bid is expected. Falcon Brook is a winner on this surface and shouldn’t be far away, either.
SIR TITUS has shaped very well in a couple of minor events at this course so far, finishing fourth on debut in a race that is working out well and showing improved form upped to 6 furlongs when third last time.
He didn’t get the clearest of runs on that occasion either, but still left the impression he was learning on the job and he sets a good standard on form in this field. There should be even more to come from him now and he should prove too strong for last-time-out winner Equate.
KLOPP is at the top of her game, and for all she had advantages when scoring for a fourth time over course and distance last month, she looked value for that win and can follow up with the burgeoning Laura Pearson booked. Loulin is proving more consistent than most at this level and has a good chance again having dug deep to see off one here on New Year’s Eve who scored next time.
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