Having taken another forward step when narrowly beaten from a tough draw on her first attempt at 5f last time, ZOETIC gets the nod ahead of Black Sparrow. Rose All Day is perhaps the most interesting newcomer.
Unless one of the newcomers turns out to be useful, this may be fought out by Susucaru, Tattoo, Cuban Breeze and KIM WEXLER. The last-named showed promise on her debut before being denied a clear run in the Super Sprint at Newbury and could be another winner for her in-form stable.
The Tony Carroll-trained pair are both worth taking seriously, with the consistent Our Man In Havana proven at the track while there is probably more to come from Irish-import Eastern Star. However, a chance is taken with KINGMANS SPIRIT, who has shown more since going handicapping. Although held in her first two starts over this C&D, her breeding suggests she could click at this track at any time and today could be her day.
Godolphin’s MARIA ROSA was disappointing when upped to 1m at Chelmsford on her seasonal return but that was behind a smart rival who made all, and she sets a clear standard here on her debut second over this trip at Newcastle last October. This very well-bred filly looks worth another chance back at 7f on Tapeta and she may well be able to make it third time lucky. Pope Gregory and Fast Spin could be the pick of the other runners with experience, while the most interesting newcomer is James Tate’s Inexplicable.
This should revolve around the two standout form contenders in Elmetto and FRESH SNOW. The former made a good start when only beaten a nose at Kempton last November but slight preference is for Fresh Snow, who made some striking late headway into second at Salisbury on her recent debut behind a well-backed favourite who followed up under a penalty at Doncaster last week. A newcomer to keep an eye on is Smart Connection, who is a brother to a 7f Group 2 winner.
Most of these are out of form and hard to recommend, the obvious exceptions being DEFTERA LAD (nap), who hasn’t had much racing in recent times and who loves it here, and Red Bravo, who went close off this mark last time. Among the bigger prices, Masquerade Bling has a good record over this trip on Tapeta and should do better for a yard that’s been in cracking form of late.
Several of these hold claims, including Elhafei, who has done so well since returning last month and still looks on a good mark, but RED SECRET is just preferred. Ed Dunlop’s 4yo has looked progressive since winning over C&D in October and can carry on the good work here. Seaport and Alexanderthegreat are others to consider.
Raased and Yorktown look the most interesting of the newcomers but they will have to be decent to cope with form choices Brilliant Light and CRYSTAL PEGASUS. Sir Michael Stoute’s 3yo was a little disappointing when beaten into second at Pontefract this month but a reproduction of the run which saw him finish a close third in a handicap the time before might be good enough to win this.
Allux Boy has three wins and a second to his name in six starts over C&D and is on a handy mark following wind surgery, so has to be of some interest. Otherwise, the C&D handicap in which Final Attack and MUSEE D’ORSAY came away with the winner early in the month may hold the key, with the latter fancied to reverse placings if his experienced 3lb claimer can get him switched off early. Freedom And Wheat, who usually hangs left under pressure, finds this trip stretching him, and it’s also a question mark with Recuerdame, who had the race run to suit last time.
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