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MERRY SECRET has taken his form to a new level since joining Mick Appleby, cashing in on a falling mark when opening his account in a 7-furlong handicap at this course last month, and following up in tenacious fashion at Kempton 10 days later.
He is being kept busy and ran creditably when finishing second to an improver at this track nine days ago and another bold bid is expected over a trip that should suit.
PURE PERFECTION started at 50/1, but ran a race full of promise when beaten half a length in third in a competitive handicap over course and distance on Friday and looks one to be interested in on the back of that. That was her first start for four months with the hood replacing cheekpieces and it was bordering on a career best, so she won’t need to improve much more to play a leading role here.
DESERT LAND generally goes well at this course, but has been unlucky on his last two starts, and is almost certainly in better form that his last two form figures suggest. Admittedly, he is a hostage to fortune given how he is ridden, but was hampered on a couple of occasions in the straight last time in a stronger race than this. The return to 7 furlongs is no bother and there is plenty to like about his chances.
KNOCKOUT BLOW’s last two wins have come over this course and distance and he has now slipped 1lb below that last winning mark. He stepped up on his reappearance run when beaten just over a length in third at Kempton last time in what was a competitive handicap for the grade.
He is entitled to come on again for that. The return to this sharper track will also suit his prominent racing style and he makes appeal in another open event.
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- Horse Racing tips: Ruby Walsh’s Sunday selections at Naas and Limerick
ASCOT ADVENTURE was well supported in the early markets when making a winning debut at Cork for Andrew Slattery in Ireland and was purchased by new connections for 150,000 guineas in October. There was plenty to like about that performance and he starts life for Clive Cox in a very winnable event. Copinet opened her account in good style at Wolverhampton in November and she looks to be the main danger.
ALBERT CAMUS had shown ability in three runs at a mile and did very well to get off the mark over this course and distance last time. That was his first start for three months in a first-time hood, showing improved form and doing especially well under the circumstances.
He was forced very wide on the home turn and hanging in the straight. He still looks a work in progress and a subsequent 1lb rise in the weights very much underestimates him.
ICONIC BELLE forged clear to land a gamble off a much-reduced mark at Newcastle on Thursday and will be hard to beat under a penalty if in the same form. G For Gabrial can have a line put through his last run here and continues in form. He could be the danger ahead of Temur Khan.
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READ MORE ON CHELTENHAM 2021
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