The ground is likely to play a big role in this, with few proven with give underfoot. Lady Isabel ran well on heavy last season and cannot be ignored. However, preference is for SRI SENE POWER, who is also proven with give underfoot and has the bonus of course form too. Machios and Dream With Me are interesting, but are less certain to cope with the conditions.
Top of the list is SHANGHAI ROCK, who raised his game when going close on testing ground at Catterick last time and is a big player again off only 2lb higher here. Soft-ground course and distance winner Bomb Squad is the main danger on his step back up in trip.
Although, there are some nursery newcomers to keep an eye on including Emjaytwentythree, who has quite a bit of speed in his pedigree and looks a possible improver on his switch to sprinting.
The newcomers need checking in the market, but this should revolve around Pure Dreamer and PRINCE OF BEL LIR. The former has a solid record and is respected with a tongue-tie added but slight preference is for Prince Of Bel Lir, who seemed to cope well with soft ground when a creditable fourth behind a subsequent Listed winner over C&D last time.
Preference is for the lightly raced three-year-old ICE STATION ZEBRA (NAP), who really kicked on with her 6 furlongs win on soft ground at Salisbury and may well be able to strike again off her revised mark to make it three wins from five starts. Last-time-out Kempton scorer The Blue Bower is feared most in her bid to make it 5-8 for her current yard.
Elsewhere, Iconic Knight went close in the mud at Goodwood last time and is a big player if he can back that up. Others to consider are Doc Sportello and Saaheq.
A tricky race in which the vote goes to the unexposed three-year-old TWELVE DIAMONDS. She finished well for second in a Bath handicap last month and is a big player if she can back that up on this step back up in trip.
Field Of Vision bounced back with a close call at Salisbury 11 days ago and he’s feared most on his return to sprinting. Although, Arctic Flower is 2lb lower than for her heavy-ground C&D win last October and would be very interesting if the market suggests a revival is expected.
Drying ground would suit Storm Melody, who is dropping in class, while Wild Flower and The King’s Steed also have something to recommend them. The trip is a slight concern for the latter though, and he may not be able to confirm Salisbury placings with DIVINE QUEEN.
Julia Feilden’s filly has shown promise on slow ground on her last two starts and she might progress further now returning to 6 furlongs.
A wide-open race and nothing with outstanding claims. Sweet Reward and Water’s Edge are two with solid recent form to their names, but it might be worth taking them on with the less exposed SKONTONOVSKI – who looked to be coming to the boil last time. Twpsyn and Mutarabby are others with each-way claims.
Sir Michael Stoute’s MARS LANDING sets a useful standard on his two seconds in competitive 1m handicaps this season and should be hard to beat back in a maiden. Clear second best on the figures is Segla.
He has shown plenty of promise with his two runner-up efforts in novice company and is a half-brother to a heavy-ground winner in France. Another to keep an eye on is the striking newcomer Banna, who is closely related to a Group 1 winner.
Most of these have something to prove, but the unexposed MISS MULLIGAN finished runner-up on soft ground on her handicap debut at Newmarket in August. She’s open to more progress on this drop back in trip.
She gets the vote for an in-form yard. The main danger could be Elegant Love, who is feasibly treated if she can bounce back near her best and has gone close in her last two runs at this track.
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