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In a race where the majority have questions to answer, the most solid option is JUNGLE PROSE who was third on her handicap debut over course and distance in November, and has finished second in a jumpers bumper on her sole run since.
This test will suit her much better and she is preferred to La Reine Poutine, who could have more to offer now handicapping. Meanwhile, She’s Gina hasn’t been with the in-form Dan Skelton for long and is feasibly treated on her best form.
TZAR DE L’ELFE was well below par when last seen in October, but he is generally a consistent sort, and goes well here. He looks the percentage call in a race where few make appeal. Summit Like Herbie and The Lion Dancer look the likeliest dangers.
NATURAL HISTORY was a useful performer for Andrew Balding on the Flat and has looked a work-in-progress over hurdles in recent weeks. He remains with plenty of potential in this sphere, so makes plenty of appeal now making the quick switch to handicaps from what looks a lenient mark based on his Flat ability. Mystic Dreamer can remain competitive, while Crooks Peak needs a check in the betting eased in class.
DORKING LAD is compiling a rather frustrating record having filled the runner-up spot in his last three starts, but a reproduction of his second to Annual Invictus at this track in January would certainly make him tough to beat. He represents a yard that are in good form and have a good record at this track, so tops the shortlist ahead of Loughan and Cadmar.
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DANDOLO DU GITE looked the type to make a better chaser and duly made a winning start over fences at Southwell in 2019. He seems to be coming back to the boil following an absence and gets the nod to build on a more encouraging run at Wincanton, where he finished third to the reopposing Jackson Hill. This is easier than the races Flaminger has contested since his reappearance win, so he could also have a say having come down to just 1lb above that successful mark.
There’s cause for optimism where MIDNIGHT AURORA is concerned, given that she hinted at a revival with cheekpieces refitted at Musselburgh last time – plus she’s now 8lbs below last winning mark and the drying ground will also be in her favour. Dan Skelton’s charge gets the nod ahead of last-time-out course and distance winner One For Dunstan and consistent maiden First Assembly.
In keeping with his pedigree, TREVADA shaped like a stayer when fifth at Southwell in December. With this bumper over a longer trip than most, he can build on that and land this with Sam Twiston-Davies taking over in the saddle.
World of Dreams is an obvious threat under a penalty if taking up this engagement (declared to run at Hereford on Sunday), with newcomer Crystal Moon also considered.
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