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ATTABOY ROY managed to get his head in front on the fibresand at Southwell last December in real gutsy fashion under Ben Curtis and has been handed a severe-looking 6lbs rise. They do the right thing here and put the 3lb claimer up to negate half that penalty. He has previous solid form over this course and distance and go back-to-back now.
MERROIR looked to be coming through with a winning challenge over this course and distance last month, but when push came to shove she leant a little left-handed in the closing stages. It was a typical blanket finish, and she wasn’t beaten very far at all. The handicapper felt a little nudge back up the weights was required for this race.
Since KATTY D was gelded he has started to get his act together and has been punted on a few occasions at Southwell. His last run was an absolute shocker and he was beaten miles a few weeks ago. But, it was his second time racing in a visor and it has been discarded this time so I’d expect plenty of improvement on that run.
It could be a very profitable evening for MESSIDOR’s excellent handler Joseph O’Brien and the way she quickened in the closing stages on her last two runs – admittedly over a furlong shorter – has been very impressive. It is a jump up in grade, but she very much looks ready for the challenge with Declan McDonogh kept in the saddle.
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It looked as if ASAD found an extra leg on his first try for this yard at Chelmsford and was punted off the boards for his return to that venue. But, like a few of these, he didn’t put his best foot forward and hung right the whole way around. Dropping back down to 6 furlongs should suit his racing style and after a bit of a slow start to the year, jockey Ben Curtis is firing in the winners again.
BENKOGAMBIT has been eased a little in the ratings since a first handicap mark of 60. He’s been dropped 9lbs, which looks a very attractive mark now. He really was hitting the line strongly last time and probably didn’t do himself any favours with a sluggish start from the stalls. If he can get away really quickly, he should gain that first victory in this one.
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