OPERA GIFT shaped with promise when finishing fourth at Goodwood on debut, and he made the anticipated improvement to win at Pontefract last month, staying on powerfully to prevail. He looks a strong stayer, so should appreciate conditions placing an extra emphasis on stamina. He can make a successful handicap debut from what seems a lenient mark.
BAD RABBIT remains a maiden after nine starts but he arrives on the back of a career-best effort at Redcar, where he relished the testing conditions. Bad Rabbit was beaten only a length at Redcar, so still seems fairly treated from just a 1lb higher mark.
The Rebecca Menzies yard could hardly be in better form too – she sent out four winners last Wednesday. Plenty of these need to prove their effectiveness on soft ground, but conditions won’t be an issue for Bad Rabbit, and he ought to give a good account.
The two with experience don’t set an exacting standard, so it could be worth siding with ALDAARY on debut. Aldaary cost 150,000 guineas as a yearling and makes appeal on paper being a half-brother to several winners, including a smart sort in Easy Road. He can make a winning start for William Haggas.
MARRAKECH MOON was too green to do himself justice on debut at Kempton last month, having to make his challenge from further back than ideal after breaking slowly, but he still caught the eye in fifth and ought to come on significantly for the experience. That was probably a strong novice Marrakech Moon contested on debut as it featured plenty of well-bred newcomers, and he looks to have been found a good opportunity here to get off the mark.
SONDERBAR ran creditably when third on his nursery debut over this course and distance last month, shaping a bit better than the result would suggest after making his effort slightly sooner than ideal in a well-run race. He had attracted support on his two outings in novice company, indicating that he is held in some regard, and it is expected that he will play a big part in the finish.
TRUE BELIEF hasn’t won since landing a maiden on soft ground at Windsor last year, but he has subsequently produced a number of good efforts in defeat – including when runner-up at Lingfield last time.
True Belief can run off a 1lb lower mark here, so is on a competitive mark, and he should have no problem with the testing ground. Brett Johnson has his string in good order and True Belief can launch another bold bid.
JAMES PARK WOODS handles testing conditions extremely well and was a 10-length winner on heavy ground on his final outing for Ralph Beckett last season. He has yet to score for Dominic French Davis but again highlighted his effectiveness on testing ground when an unlucky loser at Pontefract last week.
He went down by just a head having been forced to wait for a gap when entering the straight. He can race off a 3lb lower mark here, however, and ought to gain some compensation.
This is a competitive handicap, but PROCLAIMER is on a fair mark and handles testing ground well, so looks to have a fair bit in his favour. He has shown admirable consistency this season, hitting the frame on all four starts, and a 1lb drop in the weights may be all he needs to register a deserved success.
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