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YAUTHYM ran well in a similar contest at Fakenham a fortnight ago, finishing a good second and pulling clear of the third, so could open her account if continuing in the same form. Sorbet is the danger, with this test not sure to suit Subway Surf. Lady Tremaine likely has races in her for Donald McCain.
ROYAL PRETENDER and Fitzroy aren’t particularly convincing, but they set the standard back in maiden company. The former finished amongst some promising types on his hurdling debut Chepstow back in October and, although hasn’t progressed since, still has to be considered the one to beat returned to better ground.
It’s unlikely UNIVERSAL FOLLY has reached his limit yet, so he’s taken to build on his handicap debut second at Musselburgh in November and go one better on his return to action. Uttoxeter maiden winner Fletch is another who should have more to offer, and he looks the chief threat now stepping up in trip for his handicap bow. Ernesto looks best of the remainder.
GOUET DES BRUYERES had displayed encouraging signs on the back of a wind operation, and duly opened his account over fences in good style at Wetherby on Thursday. He was clearly well suited by the return to better ground and gets the nod to follow up under a penalty under similar conditions. Armattiekan and Lickpenny Larry others to consider.
Impossible to rule any of these out, but preference is for BOOTLEGGER, who proved at least as good as ever as he opened his account over fences at Doncaster last month and can continue Tristan Davidson’s rich vein of form. Fraternel rates as the main threat having made a winning chasing debut at Hereford just over three weeks ago, ahead of Equus Dancer.
A few of these have question marks against them, so this looks an excellent opportunity for FIRST CLASS RETURN to complete a quick hat-trick saddling just a 7lbs penalty for his latest wide-margin victory at Southwell four days ago.
His amateur jockey’s 7lbs allowance offsets that rise in the weights and his claims are compelling. Zee Man isn’t so bad as his recent form figures suggest and appeals as the one to chase him home, with Path To Freedom not discounted either for place purposes.
TIGERBYTHETAIL is an expensive half-brother to Roksana who represents a stable with a good record in bumpers. He’s marginally preferred to Sauce of Life, who was impressive first time out at Musselburgh 104 days ago but has a penalty to shoulder as a result. Diva’s Mix isn’t out of it, either.
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