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An interesting race in which the vote goes to Paul Nicholls’ TIME TO TINKER, who sets a good standard on his second over C&D in December and is open to further progress with cheekpieces added back in this sphere. Hurdle and dual bumper winner Young Lieutenant is feared most, though useful Flat performer Just In Time made a encouraging start over hurdles at Newbury and looks a likely improver on this step up in trip. Others who could have a big part to play are Grandads Cottage and The Hoax.
David Pipe’s 5yo PARICOLOR has farmed selling hurdles this season and has a good chance to collect another win today. Tintern Theatre and Coal Stock have more than enough ability to pose a threat at this level but both come here with questions to answer and Deebaj is perhaps the most likely one to trouble to selection.
Dentley De Mee ended his losing streak with a brave win at Wincanton and is respected on this drop back in trip, but preference is for SILENT MAN, who made it 2-2 for Tom Lacey with another dominant display at Lingfield in November and still looks feasibly treated here in his hat-trick bid. Sunny Express chased home a handicap blot over 2m4f last month and looks interesting if he can repeat that form, while another unexposed chaser in Ebony Gale needs checking in the market on his first run after wind surgery.
This looks a strong race for the grade and the leading contenders are Aronius and AUENWIRBEL, who are well treated under their penalties. The former beat a clear second at Southwell and is open to more progress back up in trip, but slight preference is for Auenwirbel, who returned from a lengthy absence with his runaway win over C&D nine days ago. Another last-time-out winner, Russian Sevice, is respected in his bid to make it 3-5 at this track, while others with each-way claims are Vanderbilt and Manor Park.
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Most of these have something to prove but the lightly raced BLACK CENTAUR (nap) is unexposed at staying trips and ran his best race under rules when a clear second over 3m1f at Hereford in December. He’s a big player off only 1lb higher on this first run since and gets the vote ahead of Kendelu, who was a progressive triple winner at up to 2m7f in the autumn and bounced back from a blip with a creditable third in new headgear last time.
All of the runners come with risks attached and this looks trappy. Jubilympics is on the same mark as for her chase debut win in October but her form has shifted in the wrong direction in two subsequent runs. Luckofthedraw looks interesting off a very dangerous mark back over fences but it might be worth siding with WAIKIKI WAVES, who has an impressive strike-rate of 6-13 in this sphere and is a big player if he can bounce back after a short break.
Chris Honour’s filly MAYHEM MYA has impressed on both her starts and might be good enough to overcome a 10lb penalty here before stepping up in grade. The other rules winner Luttrell Lad ought to be right in the thick of things, while Paul Nicholls’ newcomer Kayf Taoi looks interesting.
The Racing Post’s tips at Taunton
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