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This may well go to MONMIRAL who scored in a juvenile hurdle at Auteuil in March on his only start in France. That race has provided Paul Nicholls with one notable recruit already in the runner-up Hell Red, who hacked up in his British debut but floundered when 11/10 favourite in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham last week. Duke Of Condicote has accomplished most among the rest, but The Worthy Brat looked promising in his bumper and Ronde De Nuit represents powerful connections.
The Wolf had L’AIR DU VENT back in third when they clashed on their chasing debuts at Chepstow, but the selection moved as well as the winner before his lack of peak fitness told. With many of the Colin Tizzard horses coming on for a run, he’s taken to exploit his 5lb pull in the weights. The Mighty Don commands utmost respect, though he could be vulnerable on this soft ground.
Stratford winner Go Millie Go ought to give another good account but she may find it tough to concede 6lb to WHISKEY LULLABY, who ran well in defeat over 2m 4f on her hurdle debut and is likely to be suited by today’s step up in trip. Lightning Gold showed enough in bumpers to suggest she might also feature, while Irish point winner Timeless Beauty displayed promise over hurdles at Aintree two weeks ago.
The two hat-trick-seekers at the foot of the weights, From The Heart and Crossley Tender, have been in rude health but the suggestion is HES NO TROUBLE (NAP), who is back on a handy mark and still has low mileage. Last month’s satisfactory seasonal debut was his first run after a wind op and he’s unexposed at around 3m. Present Value is another to consider.
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It’s very difficult to rule out any of these, but NIGHT OF SIN can be excused his defeat on heavy ground 24 days ago and is selected to capitalise upon some help from the handicapper. Mine’s A Pint didn’t really have the race run to suit when sixth at Newbury last time and may still have potential. Saint De Vassy was pulled up in March on his latest outing, but is interesting if judged on the form of his clear second to a progressive rival two starts ago.
A chance is taken on TRANS EXPRESS, a well-handicapped course specialist who hinted at a return to form at Wincanton. Russian Exile is next best after an improved show at Newton Abbot, while Templier, Cobra Angel and one or two others also need considering.
A tricky race in which the vote goes to course winner AVITHOS, who rallied well for fourth behind some improvers at Chepstow on her seasonal return 13 days ago and looks a big player on this step back up in trip. My Mums Posh and Cushuish drop back in trip and could be the main dangers, though there are plenty of others who need checking in the market – including Henry Daly’s unexposed handicap newcomer Bretney.
The Darley Lama was not beaten far as favourite at Plumpton 20 days ago and looks interesting in new headgear on his second run for Richard Newland. Both Freddy Fanatapan and Kalabee have each-way claims, while After The Fox is a possible improver back up in trip on his handicap debut.
However, the vote goes to another handicap newcomer in KINGSMILL GIN, who showed clear promise when third behind odds-on rivals in her two hurdle runs early this year and looks on a fair opening mark.
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