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Alastair Ralph has been among the winners of late and WHITE TURF could be another for the yard. His recent near miss at Market Rasen was all the more agonising given that the outcome probably would’ve been different had he not made a hash of the second-last. Secret Potion made a winning handicap debut in this sphere at Warwick last week and is feared greatly, while Ranco is also of interest.
A case can be made for a few, but the most persuasive one is for VALENTINE’S TURF. He should really benefit from this stiffer test of stamina after his staying-on Taunton third and can open his account. She’s A Novelty is feared most off a slipping mark, although both Gyllen and Out By Six can have a say too in an open handicap.
HURLING MAGIC isn’t one for maximum faith after his rather tame short-priced defeat last time, but he’ll still take a bit of stopping here if recapturing anything like the level of his penultimate course and distance second. In Our Dreams is the obvious danger.
SCHNABEL arrives on a hat-trick for his new handler after back-to-back Fontwell wins and is fancied to defy a 3lbs rise in the weights here having shown a good attitude too on the latter occasion. Jen’s Boy has still to get his head in front over fences and could be set for to play second fiddle once more, with the reliable Boughtbeforelunch the pick of the rest.
It may be worth siding with BALLINSKER, who has yet to make an impact since switched to handicaps, but it should be pointed out that the three he has contested are among the most competitive on the jump racing calendar, namely the Greatwood, Betfair Hurdle and, most recently, the Swinton. Takeit Easy is an obvious threat on the back of his course and distance success, and Pagero is also afforded respect.
Impossible to rule out any of the quintet but preference is for ARIZONA GLORY, who is yet to get his head in front, but has performed with credit in all but one of his six starts over fences. First-time cheekpieces go on and they can work the oracle for Evan Williams’ charge. Valseur du Granval isn’t the most reliable, but can chase the selection home ahead of Totally Rejected.
OUR ROCKSTAR stayed on well when ending her losing run over this course and distance two weeks ago and a 6lbs rise doesn’t look insurmountable. Peterborough is potentially well treated back over hurdles, so may emerge as the biggest threat if seeing out this longer distance.
BLUE HEAVEN showed plenty of ability when runner-up on debut in a Fontwell bumper three weeks ago and a repeat here should see Nicky Henderson’s filly firmly in the mix once more. Malaita – who similarly shaped well on debut – is feared, along with Kim Bailey’s newcomer Vermillion Rose who makes plenty of appeal on paper.
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