Ice Pyramid showed much improved form to get off the mark on his handicap debut over this C&D last month, blowing apart a fairly competitive handicap. He failed to meet expectations at Lingfield next time, but was ridden closer to the pace than ideal and ultimately proved vulnerable to one that came from behind. He is one of four representatives for trainer Philip Kirby in this race and looks by far the one with the best chance.
It is hard to knock The Bull’s consistency and, though he hasn’t got his head in front for a while, this looks a good opportunity for him to regain the winning thread. This step back up to seven furlongs looks to be a good move after he just got going a bit too late over a furlong shorted here last time. He has a good chance on form and seldom runs a bad race at this course, so he gets the vote to gain a deserved victory.
Portledge ran respectably when third behind a pair of unexposed younger rivals here last month and is entitled to come on for that run after a six-month break. He is a five-time course and distance winner and sets a fairly decent standard against a host of rivals with questions still to answer.
Spirit Power recorded his second successive victory when showing excellent speed to dominate a Kempton handicap last time. He is currently thriving and is improving with every run of late. He arrives here at the top of his game and looks the one to beat here as he bids for the hat-trick.
Defence Girl was an expensive yearling at £100,000 and makes plenty of appeal on paper on her racecourse debut. Simon Crisford’s yard has a good record with newcomers in these type of events, particularly on artificial surfaces, and she is taken to open her account at the first time of asking.
Rideson has failed to get off the mark in four attempts and, while she sets the standard on form, she remains susceptible to a potentially above-average newcomer.
Morrooj was sent off a short-price favourite on her debut but was ultimately held back by her inexperience. She left herself with too much to do after a slow start, but caught the eye when finishing strongly late on, a performance backed up by the clock.
She will improve for that run and will take plenty of beating as she bids to open her account.
Kupa River raced too freely at Wolverhampton last time but should benefit from this drop back to six furlongs and is currently operating at 3 lb lower than his last winning mark. Calin’s Lad was below form on his debut for Ben Haslam last time but is returned to calmer waters here and looks best of the rest with the prospect of more to come.
Gunmaker was the only one to get involved from behind when third over this course and distance last month, and he came close to going a couple of places better when just edged out in a similar event last time. He pulled clear of the remainder on that occasion and it shouldn’t be long before he is back to winning ways in this grade.