Vintage Clarets appeals as a likely type on paper, being by first-season sire Ardad – who won the Windsor Castle Stakes and Flying Childers Stakes as a two-year-old, and a half-brother to the smart winner up to seven furlongs Morache Music. It will certainly be interesting to see whether the market speaks in his favour, representing the Richard Fahey yard which is seeking its third victory in this race since 2017.
Space Traveller is a smart performer on his day, as he showed when winning the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown in 2019. He possibly hasn’t been the easiest to train given that he made only one start last season, but this represents a significant drop in grade on his belated return. There is little doubt he is one of the most talented performers in the line-up if bouncing back to his best, so he could be worth siding with at rewarding odds.
Poet’s Lady has improved with every start to date, ending her three-year-old campaign with a good second on her handicap debut at Hamilton in September. She proved no match for Freyja on that occasion, but there was no disgrace in that given that the winner has since shown form verging on smart, notably winning a listed race at Newmarket in October. Poet’s Lady makes her return from a one pound lower mark here and remains very much one to keep on the right side off, with further progress not out of the question given her lightly raced profile.
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Haqeeqy took a big step forward when last seen winning a handicap over seven furlongs here in September, easily defying a BHA mark of 92. Held up in the early stages, he made good headway to lead inside the final furlong and kept going well to land the spoils by a length and a half (value for extra). This represents the toughest test of his career after nearly seven months on the sidelines, but there is no doubt he remains with potential, while Benoit de la Sayette’s claim offsets most of the eight pounds rise he was given for his impressive victory when last in action.
Summerghand has been a feature in the big sprint handicaps over the last couple of seasons and gained a deserved victory when defying top weight to win the Stewards’ Cup in 2020. That form reads very well in the context of this listed heat, and he clearly arrives here in good heart after a couple of solid efforts on the all-weather recently. That should stand him in good stead in a race where all bar two of his rivals are making their first appearance of 2021.
Sevenal shaped well amidst greenness when second on his debut at Newmarket in October, showing signs of inexperience in the Dip before staying on well to be beaten just a length and a quarter. That form sets the standard here on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, so he rates a confident selection to get off the mark at the second attempt, especially when you factor in his scope for more improvement over this longer trip.
Koola Buala showed fairly useful form when trained in Ireland by Fozzy Stack, producing her best effort when fourth in a maiden at Gowran Park in October. She then moved to George Scott and shaped as if needing the run after four months off when down the field at Wolverhampton last time, weakening late on after being forced wide in the straight. She is on a good mark judged on the pick of her efforts in Ireland and could be worth another chance in a wide-open contest.
Francisco Bay caught the eye on several occasions last season, including when last seen finishing fourth at Yarmouth in October. He was outpaced entering the final two furlongs but stayed on strongly in the end to be beaten just half a length in a bunched finish. He can race from the same mark here and makes plenty of appeal given how well he has performed after a break in recent seasons.
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