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Formerly of Joseph O’Brien, KING OF STARS got off the mark for Michael Appleby’s yard at the second attempt at this venue in October. The application of first-time cheekpieces seemingly straightening him out as he shed his maiden tag at the 10th attempt.
He was below form on his two subsequent outings, but suddenly got back on the up over this course and distance earlier this month, producing a career-best effort to see off several recent winners. He has a 6lbs higher mark to contend with, but he has not been long with the Appleby yard and there could be better still to come from him.
QAARAAT has a decent record at this venue, three times finishing runner-up before going one better over 5 furlongs recently. He travelled well before taking over in the lead entering the final furlong, ultimately winning with a bit in hand. He is up 4lbs for that victory, but remains of serious interest now stepped back up in trip.
The step back to this trip at this venue recently, along with both the switch to fibresand and the application of a first-time visor, seemed just the catalyst DAAFR needed to return to form. He did so in impressive fashion, travelling well and in the lead at the halfway point, keeping on well and never looking like getting caught. The manner in which he came clear suggests he has more to offer around here, so he is expected to be bang there under a penalty.
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MAYKIR has a very good record at this track, boasting four victories over this course and distance, and he came close to enhancing that strike rate when a half-length second to False Id here recently. He was just unable to repel the winner under a penalty, but pulling clear of the remainder. He meets that rival on 3lbs better terms here and gets the vote to reverse the form.
LION’S VIGIL is the least exposed in this field, and after getting his act together towards the end of the turf season – finishing a close second at Ripon in July – he returned with a good effort to finish runner-up over this course and distance earlier this month.
He found Straight Ash too good on that occasion, but Lion’s Vigil should be fitter for the run and he meets his reopposing rival on better terms here. Lion’s Vigil is likely to continue in form, while Straight Ash is far from the most consistent, so it is Richard Fahey’s charge that gets the vote to reverse the placings.
SILENT PERFORMANCE’s stand-out effort came when second at Newcastle back in August. That just her second start and she shaped well, looking a good sort physically and appealing as likely to progress further. That hasn’t really been the case, producing a few lackluster efforts on turf since – but, she arrives here on the back of a run at Newcastle.
She possibly needed the outing, and she sets the clear standard in form terms. She is unlikely to be found a better opportunity to open her account than this.
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