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The Wetherby race won by PARICOLOR last time holds the key to this similar contest. David Pipe’s five-year-old is reliable and effective at this level and can win again although Let’s Sway, second in that Wetherby contest, may push him close if first-time blinkers have a positive effect.
Chef De Troupe, Poucor and Chieftain’s Choice look held on form, but Largy Mouth has the potential to do better than he has shown so far.
Getareason and Thegallantway return to fences with something to prove in this sphere, and therefore the progressive hurdler FIRST LORD DE CUET is taken to make a winning chase debut. Getareason, who ran well on his last completed hurdle start, is second choice.
This can go to useful bumper performer NOBBY, who returned from a long absence with a promising third on his hurdling debut at Newbury in February and sets a fair standard here for a yard with a record of 3-7 at this track in recent years.
The main danger is the penalised Jante Law, who rallied well to beat an odds-on rival over course and distance in March and is open to further progress.
A competitive handicap in which it may pay to side with SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, who showed more in a tongue tie last time and should have underfoot conditions to suit. Grange Ranger is improving and may provide the biggest threat, although Bollin Ace is not ruled out stepping up in trip.
There is a chance that Blue Hawaii may have got in lightly on her handicap debut, but she may have to play second fiddle to FANZIO, who won easily off this mark over fences last time and will be hard to stop if in the same mood back over hurdles. Golden Town, Nordic Combined and Frightened Rabbit look the best of the rest.
The most striking contender is the progressive front-runner REAL ARMANI, who went close in his bid for a course hat-trick 12 days ago and still looks feasibly treated on this drop back to 2m 4f. Mill Race King was an eye-catching third over 1m 7f here last time and he’s feared most on his step back up in trip.
Trumps Benefit was placed over hurdles on his stable debut and looks interesting back in this sphere, while others who could be in the mix are Go To Court and Casimir Du Clos.
Although Veshenskaya caught the eye when a running-on fifth on her handicap debut at Wetherby, she is opposed with topweight LULU BALOO (NAP), who found the combination of a longer trip and drier ground very much to her liking when successful on her handicap debut at Newcastle. Shaughnessy and Tour De Pub are others to consider.
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