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Royal Touch sets a useful standard and might well be too good for these, but he’s not an easy horse to weigh up, given his two runs in October were both over about 1m on slow turf and that he now reappears as a gelding with cheekpieces fitted.
Defined has a significant role to play, but he seems to lack tactical speed and is not making any progress. Perhaps it might be worth chancing DOUBLETHETROUBLE, who posted a sound effort when second over course and distance three weeks ago.
The last-time-out winners Doctor Churchill and Fast Emma should be thereabouts again, but SKY BRIGHT is also on an upward curve and could take her form to a new level on her handicap debut.
Good cases can be made for a few of these, but the suggestion is MAN OF THE SEA. He might well have been involved in the finish had he not been denied a clear run at Lingfield two weeks ago and is another 2lbs lower today.
Suns Up Guns Up won just a modest course and distance handicap last month but, after only five starts, he could have more improvement to come. Carey Street, My Law and Glint Of An Eye also make appeal.
There are risks attached to LIKE SUGAR, who was too headstrong to do herself justice in a slowly run event at Newcastle last time. However, her very promising stable/handicap debut at Lingfield in December is still fresh in the mind, and she remains unexposed. Black Medick is second choice, ahead of Herons Nest.
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Although PRINCE OF ARRAN is best known for his overseas exploits on turf, it shouldn’t be forgotten that he’s also a seriously good all-weather performer and he’s taken to confirm last summer’s Newcastle Sagaro superiority over Rainbow Dreamer. Ocean Wind was most progressive in the autumn and is another player in this very interesting fast-track qualifier.
Another chance can be given to KELLS, who got going too late at Lingfield last month and is better judged on his Newcastle second in December. Flat To The Max hasn’t won for ages, but may benefit from today’s drop down from 2m. Harlow has done his winning over shorter trips, but showed enough over 1m 4f last time to suggest he’s worth persisting with over this trip.
This uncompetitive race provides a good chance for GREY D’ARS (NAP) to gain a breakthrough win in Britain. Nick Litttmoden’s five-year-old ran a big race in defeat when second to an unexposed one over course and distance last month and has useful 7lbs claimer Rhys Clutterbuck enlisted today. My Boy Sepoy is on a workable mark if able to bounce back quickly from a poor run here a week ago, while Chinese Whisperer looks quite interesting over this new trip.
The progressive VIVENCY did quite well to get up on the line and deny the reopposing Perfect Rose and Parikarma over course and distance ten days ago, and is taken to confirm her narrow superiority over that pair. Broughton Sunpearl is going the right way and is another worthy of a mention.
The Mike Murphy team is absolutely flying, so ARIA ROSE gets the nod to follow up last weekend’s breakthrough success. Zayriyan and Echo Brava, who went close in similar company here a week ago, can provide the main opposition.
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