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No form to go on in this early-season juvenile contest, but SPRING IS SPRUNG‘s pedigree screams precocity (February foal and dam/siblings all won early in their career), and the booking of Oisin Murphy catches the eye, so he looks the way to go before market clues. Blink Twice and Hotline Bling are a couple of likely sorts on paper, too.
HOTALENA landed back-to-back handicaps over five furlongs at Lingfield in February and March and pulled too hard when chasing a hat-trick over six furlongs last time. The return to the minimum trip and switch back to turf will suit and it won’t be a surprise if she resumes her progress. Lucky Ava is another who will be suited by the drop back in trip and is next best ahead of Mister Bluebird, who looks the potential improver in the field.
PLEASANT MAN has an excellent pedigree and looked a smart prospect when making a winning debut in heavy ground at Haydock last season. That was a fairly deep race, and he ran with plenty of credit when beaten only four and a half lengths by New Mandate in the Royal Lodge on his next start. There are plenty of potential improvers in this, but Pleasant Man sets a very good standard for them to aim at, while he could himself have more to offer on just his third start.
STOPNSEARCH arrives on the back of some good efforts on the all-weather at Lingfield this year and he’s equally as effective on turf (two-time winner) so looks sure to give a good account of himself from what still looks a fair mark in a wide-open handicap. Going Underground rates a likely improver now making his handicap debut for the James Fanshawe team, while Polar Cloud made quite an encouraging return from a lay-off at Newcastle last month and is also on the shortlist.
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The improvement that CAPOTE’S DREAM has made since joining Tom Ward on the all-weather this year is more likely trip related than surface and he looks one to follow back on the turf. He has won both of his starts at Kempton in grand style, each time showing a sharp turn of foot to come from the rear and win with a bit up his sleeve. He may need to be ridden more prominently at this track, but there is no doubt he is on an upward curve, and remains unexposed at six furlongs. The Lamplighter was placed behind the selection at Kempton last time and can play a prominent role again.
FIORDLAND was strong in the market and had a bit to spare when opening his account at Wolverhampton last month, confirming the promise of his reappearance at Kempton where he split a couple of next-time-out winners. The step up to a mile should suit back on turf and, with further progress on the cards, he looks the most solid option in an open-looking three-year-old handicap. Komore arrives on the back of a good effort, so he’s the main threat ahead of L’Operateur.
SYCAMORE failed to progress when making his handicap debut at Leicester in September, but the drop to six furlongs appeared to count against him, and he is given another chance to build on the initial promise he showed in novice events now upped to a mile. The in-form Glasvegas has to be feared with William Buick doing the steering, while Heaven Forfend and Sir Titan enter calculations, too.
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