Haddaf ended his losing run in style at Chelmsford last week, making all the running and keeping on well to score by six and a half lengths. He has been competitive at a much higher level than this in the past and will be hard to beat here if turning up in the same mood as last time, particularly as he races from a 1lb lower mark and is obviously well treated.
A four-month break and the reapplication of blinkers seemed to have a positive impact on Axel Jacklin, who bounced back to form to take advantage of a much-reduced mark over this course and distance last month. Chelsea Banham’s charge was produced to lead over a furlong out and, though he was all out to hold on, deserves a bit of extra credit having made his effort earlier than ideal. He has gone up 3lbs but remains well treated and can follow up.
Inevitable Outcome was unlucky not to finish closer when fourth on handicap debut earlier this month, and she is expected to build on that promising effort. She was keeping on well when denied a clear run a furlong out and she finished with running left, so looks a big player off the same mark here.
Cliff Wind showed much-improved form to finish runner-up on her handicap debut at Kempton earlier this month and really should have won, but her lack of experience proved her downfall. She quickened to lead after finding a gap two furlongs out but hung left, carried her head awkwardly and was headed inside the final 100 yards.
It is still early days for the three-year-old, however, and she remains one to be positive about. Cheekpieces are applied here, which could have a positive impact, and she is fancied to get off the mark.
Merhoob sets the standard on form and arrives on the back of a respectable third in a course-and-distance handicap last month. The booking of Adam Kirby can certainly be viewed as a positive one and this looks a good opportunity for Merhoob to regain the winning thread.
Terri Rules ended a long losing run at Kempton in October and has largely run well since, finishing in the frame on three of her four subsequent starts. She can gain reward for her consistency and is expected to prove too strong for Superseded and Fareeq.
Berrahri won five times last year, including at Epsom on his penultimate outing when he won the Jump Jockeys’ Derby. He followed that up with a creditable fourth in a stronger race at Chelmsford last time and he is expected to go well in this lesser grade.
Aventuriere was held back by inexperience on debut at Chelmsford and made no impression, but she did show a little more on her second outing, keeping on to finish fifth in the style of a filly who will appreciate a stiffer test of stamina. This step up in trip should suit her nicely and she has a lot more to offer so gets the nod ahead of Rhubarb Bikini, who is penalised for his all-the-way victory here last month.