ENCORE D’OR is on a losing run stretching back to January of last year and comprising 11 races, but he has dropped to a handy mark and shaped as though he’s returned in decent heart when finishing fifth at Newmarket last weekend.
He travelled with purpose but looked ill at ease on the track, stumbling two furlongs out and edging right a furlong out.
However that was an encouraging effort, one which suggests he’s on a mark he can defy, so he is worth backing on this more conventional course. It’s also worth being positive about Lahore, who is a strong-travelling type and could have more to offer from this handicap mark if things fall right.
DAKOTA GOLD enjoyed a terrific campaign last season, winning on five occasions and climbing through the handicap ranks.
He struck twice at Listed level, either side of finishing runner-up in a Group 3, and he is still the pick on these terms, even though he must concede a 3lb penalty.
Copper Knight made a very pleasing return at Newmarket last week, running right up to his best to finish second off a BHA mark of 102. He looks the main danger to Dakota Gold.
KING’S ADVICE put together a remarkable sequence last season, winning six in-a-row and then bouncing back from a defeat in the Northumberland Plate to win valuable handicaps at Newmarket’s July meeting and Glorious Goodwood.
He wasn’t in the same form on the all-weather or in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, but he took a step back in the right direction when sixth in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes last weekend and should find this easier.
He gets the verdict over Red Verdon, who struck at Group 3 level at York last season and is a danger on that form.
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