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ARTISAN BLEU has made significant progress to win her last two starts in good style, getting off the mark at Wolverhampton in March and then defying a 5lbs higher mark to follow up over the same course and distance on Monday. She only won by three-quarters of a length on the last occasion, but the manner of her victory suggests she was value for extra, sustaining an impressive burst from the rear to peg back one who enjoyed the run of the race.
Admittedly, it remains to be seen whether Artisan Bleu will be equally effective on turf, but there is no doubt she is potentially well-in here under a 6lbs penalty. She is fancied to continue the good work to bring up the hat-trick.
RUSSIAN VIRTUE shaped well after eight months on the sidelines (gelded during that time) when fourth at Doncaster last time, showing more than enough to suggest that he starts life in handicaps on a fair mark. Dropped out in the early stages, he was moving into contention and going well when hampered over a furlong out, interference which ultimately cost him any chance of winning.
He was still beaten only 2-and-a-quarter lengths in a race which is proving strong form, with the runner-up winning his next start and the third also running well in defeat subsequently. Russian Virtue can race from the same mark here and really should take plenty of beating, with further progress on the cards now that he steps back up to a mile.
FOUR ADAAY held her form well as a two-year-old, hitting the frame on all three starts once switching to handicaps. She then reappeared after six months off with a breakthrough success in a novice event at Lingfield in March, where she showed improved form to run out a stylish winner, just needing to be pushed out to land the spoils by a length-and-three-quarters.
Admittedly, she was below that form when fourth back in a handicap at Wolverhampton last time, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t more races to be won with her from a BHA mark of 67. In fact, Four Adaay sets the standard here on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, so she could be worth siding with in a wide-open contest.
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