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This looks a trappy enough race on paper, but DIOL KER looks the one to be with. He should relish the testing conditions around here and the 7lbs coming off with Michael Stenson in the plate is another help. Clondaw Secret travelled like the winner at Navan all the way, but wasn’t as impressive hitting the line as he could’ve been and with Tower Bridge likely being aimed at the Pertempts Final, it looks Diol Ker’s to lose.
Alnadam was impressive last time at Sandown but all is form is on ground with plenty of cut in it, so he would need rain now that he is 8lbs higher than his Sandown win. SON OF CAMAS has a bit to prove after a disappointing handicap debut over hurdles, but the testing ground was the excuse there and the switch to fences on better ground can see him take advantage of a favourable handicap mark.
Last season he beat the likes of King Roland, Carys Commodity, Trincomalee and Ask For Glory, which would suggest that a handicap mark of 132 is lenient. He struggled to make an impact in two runs in Grade 1 company, but the fact he was twice tried in that grade would suggest that connections feel he is far better than a 132 horse.
Not overly confident that REBEL GOLD wins this, but he looks a really solid each-way bet with five places. The gelding has had two good chase runs recently and now back to hurdles, looks well handicapped.
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Connections will have been disappointed not to get a win into BLACKBOW over hurdles last season, but chasing was always going to be his game and he was very impressive when winning his beginners the last day at Navan. He likes to get on with it and his jumping was very polished that day in, particularly at the last where David Mullins asked him for a big jump and got it – which you like to see.
SAINT CALVADOS has a question to answer over his stamina for 3 miles, but having made his name as a headstrong 2-miler he improved for stepping up to 2-and-a-half miles last season finishing a neck second in the Ryanair Chase – where you could say he was slightly unlucky after making a slight mistake at the last and losing momentum at a crucial stage.
He settled much better in his races last season and it could be that he will improve for stepping up to 3 miles. If that is the case, he will be a huge player here and at his current price it looks worth taking that chance on.
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