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Michael Bell’s lightly raced four-year-old Mister Blue went close at Southwell and is open to more progress on this switch to Polytrack. But, the slight preference is for G FOR GABRIAL, who scored in good style on his step up to 1m 4f at Wolverhampton four weeks ago and is only 2lbs higher here.
Libbretta was only just caught over course and distance last month and she should make another bold bid. Meanwhile, the other one on the shortlist is Mi Laddo, who chased home a dual subsequent winner in a classified event at Kempton last time.
None of those with experience have standout claims, but CHEROKEE DANCE has untapped potential at the distance and can make a winning return to action. Percy Willis is marginally preferred to Nellie Moon for the forecast spot.
El Ghazwani is likely to come good again at some point and these are his optimum conditions. Nonios has been in the wilderness, however he is another who could yet revive off a reduced mark. Byford moves into handicaps with further potential, but CRIMEWAVE did well to win as he did last time and can overcome his rise in the weights and class.
A few of these remain capable of better, notably Final Fantasy and Hanoverian King, but Heatherdown Matron, Kingdom Found and EYES all bring solid handicap form into the contest. The selection starts out for her new stable off a competitive mark and may be able to defy top weight.
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Hunters Step makes some appeal, but MERCURIST (NAP) ran much better than the result would suggest here on Saturday and still looks very well treated, so he can take full advantage of the return to 1m. Maazel finished ahead of the selection on Saturday, however he’ll do well to confirm the placings today.
The Warrior, fresh from a course victory over 1m 2f, is sure to be popular and he may well be up to defying the penalty. He’s not entirely straightforward though, and he could be worth taking on at the likely odds.
Corrida De Toros hasn’t lived up to market billing on a few occasions, but things could yet take a turn for the better with him. Lothario is considered, but AFRO BLUE might be worth chancing despite some unappealing form figures for Mick Appleby. The return to 1m will be very much in his favour and this represents the weakest event he’s contested.
Saaheq is well treated under a 4lb penalty for Saturday’s easy course and distance success, but things panned out ideally for him there and this might not be quite so straightforward. Outrage is better than he showed at Newcastle last time, but POP DANCER could reverse last month’s C&D form with him.
Swooper had four of today’s rivals behind him when scoring at Chelmsford last week and he may fare best of them again. Hotalena represents a different formline and is greatly respected, but the unexposed BAYAMON BELLE has shown clear promise and might be worth chancing on her handicap debut.
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