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Easily the best form belongs to ERNE RIVER, who marked himself down as a decent prospect by winning in the manner he did at Doncaster. With most of these smacking of works in progress, the danger could be fellow previous winner Opening Bid.
Mister Watson sets a useful hurdling standard but his 66-1 second at Sandown in February came from out of blue, and it’s hard to know what to expect from him after his odds-on disappointment the following month. This might go to Nicky Henderson’s bumper winner LE BATEAU, who makes his hurdling debut here. Sayadam also won a bumper and is next on the list.
Certainly Red took his form to a new level when drawing clear at Wincanton in March and further progress from him is not out of the question but POUNDING POET (nap) had a bit left in the tank when winning on his handicap debut seven weeks ago and that form has worked out well. Pickamix has considerably more to prove but he makes his stable debut after a break and in new headgear, so it won’t be a total shock if he rolls back the years.
Liberty Bella won over C&D in pretty good style in March, and that form was franked when the mare she beat won the Cheltenham Listed handicap in which Brian Eckley’s mare unseated her rider last month. However, she has shown a tendency to clout the occasional fence and preference is for chasing debutante SANDYMOUNT ROSE, who has made good progress over hurdles this year. Midnights’ Gift was the best of these over hurdles but she’s yet fully to convince stamina-wise over 2m4f.
Nicky Henderson’s mare Fantastic Lady makes her handicap debut after winning a Doncaster novice two months ago and ought to have more to offer but it might be worth chancing the fitness of BLACK MISCHIEF, who returns from a two-year absence on a very tempting mark. Garry Clermont also makes the shortlist.
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This is a drop in grade for front-running mare GOODNIGHT CHARLIE, who ran well at Cheltenham last month and already has three course wins on her CV. She gets the nod. Low-mileage 6yo Just In A Muddle took a big step forward when upped to a marathon trip at Stratford last month and has the potential to build on that performance in refitted cheekpieces. Hedgeinator and R Bren also have possibilities.
Thrice-raced Storm Dennis sets the standard and seems sure to go close, but there are several other likely candidates in an interesting bumper. Walkonthewildside wasn’t unduly knocked about on his debut and should improve, along with Henry Daly’s Petty Cash, who could outrun his likely odds. The newcomers all make some appeal too, and a chance is taken that HARDY BOY is forward enough to make a winning start for his in-form yard.
Tips for Warwick today
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