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Andy Irvine’s mare QUEEN AMONG KINGS looked suited by the step up to 3m 1f at Plumpton three weeks ago, where she chased home an unexposed rival and was nicely clear of the third. She could have more to offer as a stayer and gets the vote.
Master Newton ran quite well at Newcastle last time and there is hope he can do better with the cheekpieces refitted here. Handicap debutant Wireless Operator is open to significant improvement over a new trip today and is next on the list.
Graeme McPherson’s PASSING SHADOW has threatened to win a Class 5 handicap under this sort of weight in the past and, with some possible potential lurking over this longer trip, he’s as appealing as any. Sienna Royale is a mare with more to offer, and Arcadian Pearl may find some improvement now granted a stiffer stamina test.
Nashville Nipper has the best hurdles form, but likely improver SAMMEO is an interesting alternative. Third choice is Highland Parc. All of the others are none too convincing for a race of this nature.
It is probably best to focus on the two recent winners. Fontana Ellissi could pull out the necessary improvement in his first handicap, but ONEMOREFORTHEROAD has already shown he can do it in this sort of contest.
He also looked one to follow when successful twice in March. Diese Des Bieffes is the best each-way option.
Colin Tizzard’s low-mileage seven-year-old OFALLTHEGINJOINTS (NAP) suffered a dip in form after his Exeter win in November, but he ended last season with a good effort in a Grade 3 handicap at the Aintree festival three weeks ago and can collect this prize off a 1lb lower mark.
Minellacelebration is 3-3 at this track, including two editions of this race, but his current mark asks a lot of him and a bigger threat to the selection could be Potters Legend – who won twice and ran some good races in defeat last season.
The Paul Nicholls-trained FRIEND OR FOE has done well in handicap hurdles in these cheekpieces, and this lightly raced six-year-old is taken to make a winning chase debut. Highly Prized was similarly talented over hurdles however, and has the ground in his favour on this first chase start, so could be a big threat.
Preference is for THE NEWEST ONE, whose Warwick effort was boosted when the winner followed up at Ayr on Scottish National day. Drakes Well is second choice, ahead of fellow handicap/chase debutant No Anxiety. A few of the others also have possibilities.
The most reliable option is STAY OUT OF COURT, who comes here on the back of a first chase win and is still unexposed for a 10-year-old. Llancillo Lad is perhaps the main threat ahead of Montanna, whilE Troed Y Parc is a potential improver on his chase debut.
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