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An open starter. The suggestion is FIRST CHARGE, who did not go unbacked when making a winning handicap debut on his final run of last season and he’s bred to progress beyond this mark.
With 3lbs claimed, Dream With Me is effectively only 2lbs higher than when winning from the front on the all-weather last week and he’s feared most. The Dancing Poet could be interesting after further wind surgery.
All these come here after running on the all-weather and RAVENSCAR has developed the canny habit of not winning by too far. Only 3lbs higher than when bringing up her hat-trick, she can make the breakthrough on turf at just the fourth attempt. The Rutland Rebel is another in solid form and he’s second choice, ahead of Arabescato.
The interesting one is WALDKONIG, who this time last year was being talked of as a Derby candidate. Last season never got off the ground, but he still ran to a high level and the potential is there for him to be way better than a handicapper. This a hot little race though with all six likeable types, and Louganini could be most troublesome, along with Fishable.
All of these can win more races, but POPMASTER (NAP) looks the one for today. The form of his close third at Lingfield received an almighty boost there on Good Friday and, for one struggling to kick the habit of slow starts, this stiff track should work in his favour.
Richard Fahey has won five of the last six renewals of this race and on that stat alone Internationaldream commands respect, for all that he kicks off his second campaign on a tough mark. Bickerstaffe remains exciting and Out The Hat looks well handicapped.
There’s an improved performance lurking in TRAWLERMAN, who has performed to a decent level in both his runs despite looking a work in progress. King Frankel can give him most to think about.
Considering SPYCATCHER very nearly won a Group 3 last season he should really be winning this. He was making his debut and also stumbled leaving the stalls when behind Cooperation at Redcar last summer. The Fahey colt is his most likely danger.
Barney’s Bay has the best chance on the figures, but his close second at Beverley last August came over an extended 7 furlongs on soft ground. We can’t be sure he’ll be suited by the reduced emphasis on stamina here.
Ready preference is for DEXTER BELLE, who raced a bit too keenly but shaped with significant promise before fading out of contention in a good-quality 7-furlong York novice last summer.
A very open finale. A chance is taken that STAR OF ST JAMES can exploit a lower mark on turf than the all-weather, in the hope that he’s a better horse now than when he last ran on grass.
Ventura Rascal ended last year on a high, but his stamina is not entirely guaranteed for this stiff mile and a greater threat could be Copper And Five, who looked unlucky off this mark last time.
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