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Tees Spirit has obvious potential to progress from his recent Ripon win and is not opposed lightly, but slight preference is for COMETH THE MAN – who has posted two good efforts this month and has the services of Oisin Murphy today. Mahale should also feature.
All four hail from stables which get plenty of two-year-old winners. Richard Hannon has had a couple of first-time-out two-year-old scorers already, so ARMOR gets the vote under Ryan Moore. However, the betting will provide more clues.
Chief Of Staff has a very good pedigree and could be anything, but LEXINGTON KNIGHT ran to a fairly useful level when placed over today’s trip on his first two starts and is selected in the hope he can put his experience to good use. Thunder Power and St George’s Bay are other newcomers to take a look at.
Fierospeed comes here after two all-weather wins and is not yet fully exposed, but the one who could have significant untapped potential is SILENT HUNTER (NAP). He was on the sidelines for a long time after his two promising two-year-old runs, but collected a Tapeta novice on his reappearance outing in December and now makes his handicap debut over a new trip. Thibaan could be dangerous if the wind surgery proves successful.
Sir Michael Stoute’s lightly raced four-year-old LAW OF ONE was beaten off a 7lbs lower mark on his handicap debut in October, but that form has been well advertised by the winner and he was clear of the others.
The Galileo colt opened his account with an emphatic novice win a few weeks later and looks an interesting prospect for the season ahead. A Star Above has something to prove after ending last season with a poor run, but he’ll be a potent threat if back on song here.
Mark Johnston is often a good starting point in these type of races, so the suggestion is FAIRMAC – with the longer trip likely to suit and Ryan Moore doing the steering. Stablemate Soapy Stevens (second pick) and Valparaiso appeal as the sort to go on to better things in handicaps over this longer distance and head the dangers.
None of these can be safely ruled out. RED POPPY was a bit of an eye-catcher in a big-field course and distance handicap at the Lincoln Meeting and she gets the nod over Quickstep Lady.
This isn’t as competitive as the numbers might suggest and could provide a good opportunity for VOLTAIC, who was placed off a 5lbs higher mark under Jessica Llewellyn last season and has a good record when fresh. Serena Brotherton’s mount Coviglia ran well on Polytrack when last in action and will also be suited by today’s surface. Mercurist and Highlight Reel are others to consider.
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