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Rukwa chased home a bang-in-form rival when reverting to hurdling over 2m three weeks ago and posted another good effort in defeat over 2m 4f at Newcastle on Saturday. But, course and distance w inner SAN PEDRO DE SENAM proved he retains a significant chunk of ability when fourth at Newbury last month and, with headgear now refitted, he gets the nod. Emma Lamb is next on the list.
Not so competitive as the numbers suggest, and the lightly raced GETTHEPOT (NAP) signalled he’s ready to open his account when a strong-finishing third on his handicap bow at Southwell (form been franked).
What A Glance looks the one to chase him home now he goes into handicaps with veteran mare Undisputed and C&D scorer Candy Lou appealing as the best equipped to fight out minor honours.
A case can be made for virtually all of these but the most persuasive one is for ICONIC MUDDLE who made a pleasing start over fences when third at Warwick and can build on that here. The trio of Powerstown Park, Loughan and Only Money all rate interesting debutants in this sphere though in a most intriguing novices’ handicap chase.
Olympic Conqueror escapes a penalty for his Fakenham win and is in receipt of 12lbs from the juvenile CABOT CLIFFS. But, Dan Skelton’s runner gave it a really good shot from the front before eventually finishing 12th in a hot Cheltenham Festival handicap last month and is selected to dominate this much easier race.
Plenty of these arrive with question marks against them, so this looks an excellent opportunity for handicap debutante MISSTREE SONG to open her account after a run of near misses. Inn The Bull figures on a good mark back in this sphere so could be the one to chase home Dan Skelton’s mare with Malina Ocarina and Fraterculus also worthy of respect.
This might be the fastest ground GO STEADY has encountered but he followed February’s course and distance win with a good effort at Sandown last month and is the most appealing option. Havana Hermano will be very dangerous if able to replicate the form of his Wetherby second from last October but he didn’t run very well last time and is not one to rely upon heavily.
Lord Sparky, Mackie Dee and Arthur’s Reuben are all very effective at this track, but resurgent mare STYLISH DANCER was a very convincing winner on her recent chasing debut and can overcome an 11lb hike up the weights. Arthur’s Reuben is second choice.
Sami Bear ran very well in defeat over course and distance five weeks ago and is respected, but SHANTOU’S MELODY was fifth in a good race at Cheltenham in the autumn and that form probably makes him the one to beat here. Cousu Main has also shown significant ability, while Campden Lad and Samatian are two newcomers with good credentials on paper.
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