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Despite another small climb up the weights, it is hard to look beyond DRAGONS WILL RISE (NAP) who is progressing steadily. Most of the others have a bit to prove but Kodi Koh looks second best, ahead of Pink Jazz and Couldn’t Could She.
This looks more competitive than the first division. PLANSINA was behind Kingson last time, but she is better than that bare form suggests and has a solid chance of revenge on better terms. Kingson can be forgiven a subsequent defeat and won’t be far away, while Carey Street and Don’t Jump George also have claims.
October’s course winner Lleyton has not had many goes on the all-weather and could follow up. Lucky Robin and Oi The Clubb Oi’s are in form and should be thereabouts, but a chance is taken that the fairly useful hurdler FLEUR IRLANDAISE proves suited by this longer distance and builds on her last all-weather run. Lonimoss Bareliere is a potential fly in the ointment and should be monitored in the market.
A step up to 1m 4f didn’t suit last time, but DAHEER has won both starts over course and distance, and could easily get back to winning ways. Red Bond will be dangerous if allowed to dictate, while neither of the David Evans duo Siavash and Snow Ocean should be ruled out too readily.
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Ffion has not only a penalty but also a long absence to overcome, so this may concern FRONT OF LINE and Pivotal Decision. The selection is 0-7, but her form is right up there and this looks her best opportunity for a while.
The standard set by Kath’s Toyboy is far from insuperable, and while he may still prove good enough to cope with this latest drop in trip, the claims of debutant DONNY MARLOW (from a yard which has done the overwhelming majority of its winning in 2020 with juveniles) gains him preference. Assuming she breaks smarter this time, Lucky Ava is the only other contender worthy of serious consideration on the evidence to date.
It’s hard to rule many of these out, but the narrow verdict goes to ONE NIGHT STAND, who has won two of his last three and had more in hand than the margin suggests over C&D last month. Merhoob showed clear signs of a return to form last time and is a big danger, while El Hombre goes well here and should not be far away.
This could well fall to whichever of TATHMEEN and Friendly Advice gets the most luck in running and responds best to their respective piece of second-time headgear. The first-named is preferred, his Newcastle near-miss having been gained in an up to scratch 0-90 and representing his third such close run thing in higher than class 5 since the start of last month alone. Storm Over and (if forgiven last time) Iconic Knight are the others of interest.
Trip (Youkan), draw (Heer We Go Again) or both (Another Angel) temper confidence in several of these, and preference instead is for LORNA COLE. A four-time winner on a variety of surfaces (including Tapeta) who signed off for previous connections on a low note, but has joined a top winter team on a mark she’s nearly defied once before on turf. Chookie Dunedin, who all but recorded another course score two starts back, rates the obvious danger.
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