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A competitive renewal of this early-season two-year-old event for fillies’ and it is the Clive Cox-trained CRAZYLAND who is taken to come out on top. She was well backed and looked above-average when making a winning start at Windsor, having Sienna Bonnie and Fabiosa in behind. Those two have franked the form since and Crazyland can confirm that form with improvement forthcoming.
LOVE IS YOU won both of her starts as a juvenile and started favourite for the Nell Gywn Stakes at Newmarket on her return last month. She wasn’t disgraced in third, but did leave the strong impression that the return to a mile would be in her favour, while the switch back to a flatter track will also be in her favour. Love Is You sets a healthy standard on her two-year-old form and is taken to resume winning ways back in class, while acknowledging that Sky Lantern beat two promising colts in good style at Newbury and probably has the most potential in the field.
BLUE CUP is a low-mileage five-year-old who could hardly have shaped any better on his return at Epsom last month, easy to back in the market, but very unlucky not to finish closer or maybe even win. He was left poorly placed in the rear and took a strong hold, but was repeatedly denied a run from two furlongs out and finished with plenty of running left. Blue Cup races from the same mark now and has excellent claims for a yard who had an impressive handicap winner here on Wednesday.
Only five runners for this year’s Yorkshire Cup and it is Mark Johnston who seemingly holds the aces with SIR RON PRIESTLEY and Nayef Road. The former has returned from an absence better than ever, winning a listed event over a similar trip at Nottingham and following up in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket over shorter earlier this month. He won on the latter occasion despite the drop in trip probably being against him and he should be hard to peg back here. He will face formidable challengers from stablemate Nayed Road and last year’s Irish Derby winner Santiago, though.
BOARDMAN was back to form with a bang when winning easily in the mud at Haydock last weekend, seeming to relish the testing conditions, and he could prove hard to beat if in the same form turned out under a penalty. Highfield Princess was very progressive in handicaps in the second half of 2020 and the booking of Ryan Moore suggests she could be primed for a bold bid on her return.
Cases can be made for several of these, but HEY MR appeals as the one with the greatest potential. He beat his old rival Imperium Blue in good style when landing a Nottingham nursery in October and a 5 lb rise almost certainly underestimates him. He has raced on only soft/heavy ground so far, but the way he quickened up last time suggests he will have no problem with a sounder surface. Tweet Tweet showed Bedford Flyer a clean pair of heels at Thirsk and is an obvious danger.
Mark Johnston has captured the past two runnings of this handicap and he looks to have a strong hand once again. Galileo colts KONDO ISAMI and Happy both really catch the eye and are taken to fight out the finish with narrow preference given to the former, who opened his account in good style at Chelmsford in December and has been handed a fair-looking opening mark. Salisbury runner-up Farhan and ex-Irish gelding Tashkhan also have more to offer and both merit a second look too in an intriguing contest.
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