The improving Bal Mal naturally commands respect, though he has been plying his trade in Class 6 company and he’s up another 6lb. He’s taken on with the downgraded TABAAHY, who could well be a better horse now than when he last ran on turf.
Not many can be seriously fancied here and well-bred newcomer Heat And Dust will need to be taken very seriously if strong in the betting. However, SHOBIZ sets quite a high benchmark on the strength of his narrow defeat on his Haydock debut, when the market suggested not a great deal was expected. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Shrara show a good deal more than on her Windsor debut.
This looks best left to SUN FESTIVAL, a well-bred colt who should improve on his debut second here and yet he might not have to. Paws For Thought is probably his main threat after he too ran a nice first race.
Richard Hannon’s pair Corofin and Arafi could both do better yet, while recent 5f winner Knight’s Gate and handicap debutante City Escape also have something to recommend them. NEWTON JACK ran well over C&D last time though and can defy a 2lb rise now returning to Class 6 company.
Preference is for ETERNAL BLUSH, who only led late on for her wins in non-handicaps and she might be a bit better than the bare form. Gert Lush is feared most after winning so nicely at Newmarket, though Lola Showgirl and Spinacia are also of strong interest.
There are surely races to be won with Quarry Beach, who again ran well to chase home a handicap blot here last time, but she faces some unexposed 3yos here. Money for Estate House would be interesting on handicap debut while Good Time Charlie’s Bath second has been franked, but DAHEER also showed that he has ability at Bath this month and is entitled to have plenty of improvement left in him after just two starts.
There is more to come from the 3yo SCARLET RUBY (nap) who, as her breeding suggested she might, took a big step forward when fourth over a similar trip at Leicester three weeks ago. Raven’s Raft looks the best of those at bigger prices.
A few of these remain unexposed and may yet do better such as Barrier Reef, Royal Born and Up The Aisle, but PLEASURE GARDEN should be hard to beat in his hat-trick bid despite a 6lb penalty. This galloping track should suit him better than Catterick did last Wednesday even though he got the job done there. Gold Standard has been shaping as though he would benefit from stepping back up to this trip and looks the main danger.
A few of these have run well in defeat lately, particularly Norab, Paris Protocol and Mousebird. The last-named looks the pick of that trio, but it may be worth taking a chance with MASTER GREY who is 3lb below his last winning mark and drops into 0-65 company for the first time since winning easily over C&D in the spring of last year.
The Racing Post’s tips for Chepstow today
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