Kestenna’s sales price increased markedly as a yearling and she shaped with plenty of promise when finishing runner-up to a well-backed winner at Lingfield last time. She wasn’t the fastest away from the stalls and ran green in the early stages, short of room around three furlongs out but kept on well in the closing stages to be never nearer than at the finish. Kestenna wasn’t given a hard time and looks a sure-fire improver now, and should be suited by this slightly longer trip.
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Manumission cost £95,000 as a two-year-old at the breeze-ups but didn’t make his debut until June last year. He is sharply bred, so it was a surprise he didn’t show much zip on debut at Newcastle, but he showed gradual improvement on his next two starts and should have even more to offer now. Manumission may have been brought along with handicaps in mind, and it is interesting that he has now been switched to Robert Cowell, who does so well with sprinters. He is bred to be better than an opening mark of 58, and the booking of a burgeoning 7 lb claimer catches the eye.
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The British Lion hasn’t won for two years, but his mark has dropped considerably in that time, and he arrives on the back of a couple of good efforts at Southwell. He moved through the race in good style last time, just not really picking up as expected in the straight. It can be hard to come from off of the pace at that track, though, and he is well worth another chance switched back to this venue where his last win came. Daniel Muscutt knows him well and everything points to a bold show from what should be a fair enough price.
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