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Sambezi (second choice) and Moonlight Beam have shown enough to suggest they can make their mark over hurdles, but this can go to DEMOCRATIC OATH. He shaped well in a useful contest at Musselburgh last time and should find that a reproduction of that form is good enough.
Although TIMELY GIFT was a remote second on his chase debut, it’s turned out that he was up against a very well-handicapped rival and he gets the nod to build on that run. Sigurd failed to fire at Carlisle last week, but had inflicted heavy defeats on a few of these rivals at Catterick prior to that and is sure to go well if back in that sort of form.
Classical Sound was going well behind Joanne Foster’s charge until walking through the fourth last at Catterick on his latest start and is another who could play a part.
Neil Mulholland’s CHINWAG (NAP) was better than the result behind a next-time-out scorer last time and can show he’s still on a good mark to make this a third win in his last four starts. The consistent Sidi Ismael looks next best.
The front-running Road Warrior is likely to give it a good shot, but he has edged up in the weights without winning and is taken on with CUDGEL. He unseated early on when back over fences last time, but had been in good form over hurdles prior to that.
His second in a Catterick chase last winter to a horse who won his next three starts reads well in the context of this race. Epsom Des Mottes can play a prominent role if recapturing the form he showed when scoring at Newcastle, while Hitman Fred could also have a say if taking to fences.
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Although not the most consistent of mares, Lammturner has a course and distance success on her CV. She is considered, but CALARULES‘ second in a big-field at Doncaster looks the best piece of recent form and a repeat of that run would surely see him run very well. The in-form Avithos is the second choice, while bottomweight Ciarabella could go well switched back to hurdling.
Given that topweight Palixandre may need a sounder surface and Elixer has to prove he has what it takes to get his head in front, this may rest between course specialist Frankie Ballou and the unexposed TORTUGA BAY. The selection showed enough on her chasing debut to suggest she can win races over fences and this ordinary contest provides her with a decent opportunity.
An interesting handicap hurdle in which Laskadine is feared despite being raised 10lb for winning well at Newcastle last time. He is the main danger to OSCARS LEADER, who has been performing with credit against some talented rivals this season, should appreciate this drop in class and will benefit from Lilly Pinchin’s claim. Penpal and Comber Mill look the best of the rest.
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