CENTRAL CITY is now 4 lb below his last winning mark and, having proved his stamina for this trip when finishing runner-up at Wolverhampton recently, he looks primed to go well. He was beaten only by another well-treated sort who reacted well to first-time blinkers last time, and a repeat of that performance here will suffice in what doesn’t look as strong of a race. The booking of Andrea Atzeni also catches the eye.
This doesn’t look the strongest race of its type, and it is ARJU who is selected to build on her promising debut when second to a potentially smart type at Kempton last time. She was easy to back on that occasion, but showed ability, and rates the type to progress for that initial experience now. Normal improvement should suffice provided none of the newcomers are above average, though Tough Character made his debut in a hot race at the Curragh last season and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the market on first start for Phillip Makin.
This looks a cracker, and a strong case can be made for several, but at the prices, it could be worth siding with eight-year-old LIBRISA BREEZE. He has been working his way back to form on the all-weather of late, not at all disgraced in a race not run to suit when fourth at Chelmsford last time, staying on for fourth in the final 50 yards without being knocked about. The switch to a straight track where is can pay to be held up will be right up his street and, if taking another step forward, the 2017 Champion Sprint winner will be a force to be reckoned with.
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The most interesting runner here is LORD OF THE LODGE, who showed near smart form as a juvenile last season, winning twice, and finishing the campaign with a career best when second in the Gimcrack Stakes won by Threat at York. That form very much sets the standard and, though he has an absence to overcome, plus a switch to an artificial surface, his claims are hard to get away from.
An interesting event where the likely favourite Merchant of Venice has sound claims, but HUMBERT has been running in well in defeat over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield recently, and should find this test more suitable. His last win came off a 10 lb higher mark, so he is clearly well weighted to strike, and this more galloping track will play to his strengths.
ALSVINDER hasn’t won for almost a year, but he is well treated based on the pick of his form, and ran one of his better races for some time when third at Chelmsford last time. He went with plenty of zest that day and, with not much pace on paper in this race, he could be dangerous if allowed his own way in front in this small field.