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FAST EMMA showed definite signs of improvement as she posted her best effort up to that point at Wolverhampton in November. Although she was easy to back at Lingfield recently, she progressed again to open her account – seen to much better effect under a more positive ride and edging ahead near the line. She has only been nudged up 2lbs for that win and there could be a little more to come from her too, so she gets the vote to make a successful debut on fibresand.
GHOST RIDER didn’t make it to the track as a two-year-old, but he is well bred – a Dark Angel colt, who is a half-brother to three winners – and he shaped with plenty of encouragement to finish second on his debut at this course last week. He looked in need of the experience early on, but really got the hang of things once the penny dropped and finished well. He is a likely improver for the Mark Johnston yard, who are enjoying a good time of things at present and is the one to beat here.
THRAVE made a successful debut at this course last month, capitalising on the drop in grade to regain the winning thread, finding plenty to lead close home. He confirmed his return to form when runner-up here last week. This step back up to a mile should suit him, and given he clearly performs well on this surface, so he looks the one to side with.
NOTATION certainly saves her best for Southwell, two wins and one second from her three runs at this venue. Her most recent effort was the best of them all, running out a 16-length winner over this course and distance last month. She is up 10lbs in the weights for that victory, but she still merits plenty of respect, particularly as she may well have more still to come.
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MAYKIR shaped better than the bare result when fifth over this course and distance last month, and he duly made amends when regaining the winning thread under the same conditions on New Year’s Day. He was even value for extra too given he raced wide throughout.
He then improved further to defy a 4lbs rise last time, again over this track and trip, picking off a couple who went at it from a fair way out. This looks a good opportunity for him to bring up the hat-trick under a 5lbs penalty.
ZYLAN came in for support prior to the off over this course and distance two weeks back. He duly took advantage of a reduced mark to repay the faith shown in him, going with a lot more spark back sprinting with headgear on and digging deep under pressure to get the better of a subsequent winner. He has been upped 4lbs for that win, but with the form being franked. The fact is that Zylan won from a 5lbs higher mark this time last year and he is taken to go in again.
NICK VEDDER ended his long losing run with a sweeping victory at this venue at the beginning of the month, winning with a bit to spare after picking his way through in the final furlong. He defied a penalty with plenty in hand under the same conditions last week, cruising home from the rear to win with ease. He carries a 4lbs penalty for that victory and the hat-trick looks all but a formality provided he is in the same form.
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