MADRESELVA stepped up on her debut effort when second at Hamilton last time, travelling best of all before being collared by Acklam Express close home.
That rival gave the form a boost when following up on his next start at Goodwood, easily defying a mark of 77 on his nursery debut (by four and a quarter lengths).
Madreselva also makes the switch to handicaps today, and the balance of her form suggests she has been underestimated by an opening mark of 71 – with the extra emphasis on speed at this venue expected to suit given how she shaped last time.
EDINBURGH CASTLE took a step back in the right direction when third on his most recent outing at Ascot, doing his best work at the finish to get within four-and-a-half lengths of the winner Look Closely (who has won again since).
He arguably shaped better than the bare result too, given that the pair who beat him were both ridden more prominently in a steadily-run affair.
This looks much less competitive on paper, and Edinburgh Castle certainly showed enough to suggest that he is on a good mark when everything falls right, representing the Andrew Balding yard that has an impressive 22% strike rate at Chester in recent seasons.
POWER OF STATES also lined up in the handicap won by Look Closely at Ascot last time, finishing one place behind Edinburgh Castle after attempting to come from a similarly hopeless position.
The Class 4 he contests today is more like his level, as he showed when sixth on his reappearance at Beverley, where he was beaten less than three lengths despite meeting trouble (finished with running left).
James Doyle also takes over in the saddle today for the first time since he was beaten narrowly at Chelmsford last September, so it will be no surprise if he outruns his odds in a competitive heat.
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