ANNUAL INVICTUS has returned an improved model this season and built on his encouraging return to action at Ascot when opening his account at Lingfield last time. He didn’t have to improve to do so, but there was plenty to like about the manner of his victory, always travelling well and drawing clear in good style on the run in. There should be even more to come from him and he is fancied to defy a penalty.
This looks a match between ACEY MILAN and Full Back and preference is for the former, who found it too much in Grade 2 company at Newbury last time. He won a competitive handicap on his chasing debut at Aintree on his return, though, and should have more to offer in this sphere, particularly in these calmer waters now. Acey Milan goes well round here and can quickly resume winning ways.
The bumper winners LITTLE AWKWARD and Mountain Leopard look the pair to focus on, with Oliver Sherwood’s four-year-old narrowly selected to make a successful start over obstacles. The step up in trip is sure to see him in a better light and this looks a nice starting place.
BENEVOLENTDICTATOR is a maiden over hurdles but stepped up on his form in that sphere when making a successful chase debut at Lingfield last month. He is very much a chaser on looks, and, with improvement likely now faced with a stiffer test, he is much the most likely winner. Second choice is Garrane, who has posted more good efforts than bad ones since switched to fences.
This looks wide-open and it may be worth chancing DARKEST DAY, who hasn’t cut much ice in a couple of runs this season but it’s still early days and he’s now 10 lb lower than when finishing third over course and distance in February. Legal Ok has found just one too good on both previous visits here and he merits respect, but Penny Poet makes her handicap bow in this sphere off a feasible mark and is feared most.
GENTLEMAN’S DREAM offered something to work on sent chasing after 45 months off when fifth at Hereford last month. He has stood very little racing, so he isn’t certain to build on that turned out relatively quickly, but he is potentially better than this mark and the longer trip will also be in his favour. Hab Sab is bidding for a course and distance hat-trick so must be considered, while the selection’s stablemate Chain Smoker remains unexposed, too.
Anthony Honeyball has an impressive 6-16 bumper record at this course so PRECIOUS, who makes appeal on pedigree, gets the nod to make a winning debut, but Miss Fisher, Victorias Peak and Cool Stone are others who hail from yards which do well in bumpers and the betting is likely to be informative.
Plumpton tips summary:
- 12:15 – ANNUAL INVICTUS
- 12:48 – ACEY MILAN
- 13:18 – LITTLE AWKWARD
- 13:53 – BENEVOLENTDICTATOR
- 14:23 – DARKEST DAY
- 14:58 – GENTLEMAN’S DREAM
- 15:28 – PRECIOUS
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