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JABBAROCKIE goes well fresh and made another winning reappearance in a useful handicap at Musselburgh last month. Some lenient handicapping allowed him to return from 1 lb lower than his last winning mark, and he duly obliged, making all over a sharp five furlongs in a good time. He has landed the plum draw in stall 1 here and, provided the ground doesn’t become too testing, he isn’t handicapped out of proceedings from a 3 lb higher mark. Mondammej will also be a big player if backing up his impressive Pontefract win.
Aidan O’Brien has an excellent record in the Dee Stakes, winning six of the last eight renewals, and it is interesting he relies solely on ONTARIO this year. He remains with just a maiden win over a mile to his name, but he was placed in a couple of Group 2s afterwards, notably finishing second to New Mandate in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket. That isn’t the strongest form on offer, but he shaped well over an inadequate seven furlongs in the Free Handicap on his return, and promises to improve for this step up in trip. He edges it over the Charlie Appleby-trained Yibr.
This looks a competitive three-year-old handicap, but ALEAS looks the type to progress again this year and may have enough in hand from this mark to overcome a wide draw. He didn’t need to improve on his debut performance to win a heavy-ground minor event at Newbury on his second start, but he did so when following up on his handicap debut at Kempton when last seen in November. That form looks fair enough, and there was plenty to like about the manner in which Aleas went about his business, looking a very straightforward type. A subsequent 4 lb rise isn’t excessive and he seems sure to launch another bold bid.
MORANDO isn’t getting any younger, but he proved at least as good as ever in defeat last season, and should have conditions in his favour on his return to action. He won this race by eight lengths on his reappearance in 2019 and his record at this track in general is a positive one. The likes of Japan and Trueshan are sure to be popular but Morando makes a fair bit of appeal at the prices.
Another wide-open handicap where a chance is taken on SPIRIT DANCER, who was largely progressive last season, and left the firm impression that he would come on for his reappearance at Newbury last month. He took a keen hold early but made steady headway around three furlongs out before he weakened out of proceedings approaching the furlong marker. Spirit Dancer wasn’t given a hard time once his chance had gone and much better is expected now.
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ZOLTAN STAR was well found in the betting and showed plenty to work on when beaten by a 150/1 shot on his debut at Windsor last month and he looks sure to improve for that experience. The form of that race is working out well, too, with the third, fourth and sixth all winning next time out. Zoltan Star will break from the prime spot in stall 1 and could prove a tough nut to crack. Russellinthebushes looked sharp when just touched off at Redcar and is feared most.
A potential match between BAILEYS DERBYDAY and Sonning, with preference for the former who showed improved form in defeat on handicap debut at Yarmouth last month. He pulled clear of the remainder with another well-handicapped sort so the form is worth viewing positively, and he therefore makes plenty of appeal from the same mark. Sonning is another progressive sort who made a winning handicap debut at Beverley last time and seems sure to be suited by this longer trip.
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