Mark Johnston’s twice-raced colt Whatzupwithme showed clear promise with his front-running fourth at Ayr and is an interesting contender on this drop back in trip. However, our preference is for another nursery newcomer in HELLAVAPACE, who was a good second at Kempton 17 days ago and looks well treated if she can match that form back on turf.
Hungry For Fashion has each-way claims back in a nursery, while the other one on the shortlist is Bannergirl, who caught the eye with her late headway over 6 furlongs in the mud at Windsor last time.
This should revolve around the two leading form contenders in Dark Illusion and ALDAARY. The former has run well in soft-ground nurseries in his last two starts and is respected on this step back up in trip. But, our preference is for the very well-related Aldaary, who was impressive on soft ground at Yarmouth 14 days ago and may well be able to defy a 6lb penalty to make it 2-2.
Bungledupinblue sets the standard on some placed efforts in June, but her form has gone in the wrong direction in her last three runs and she comes with risks attached on her stable debut. Celestial Queen didn’t live up to market expectations at Haydock.
However, she should know more this time and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she took a major step forward on her second start. However, it might be worth siding with Richard Fahey’s newcomer RHODE ISLAND GIRL, who looks the part on paper and has slow-ground winners on her dam’s side.
There are only two runners, but both of them hit a personal best last time and this is a tight call. Buriram had something in hand when scoring at Chester and still looks feasibly treated on this drop back in trip, but WIN O’CLOCK went close in the mud over course and distance last time, and he gets the vote off only 1lb higher today.
Hartswood found another good jolt of improvement when a close second at York and he’s strongly respected off 4lb higher here. Ascension could resume his progress at this new trip, while Walhaan looks interesting on his best form this season and he could appreciate this switch back to testing ground.
However, the marginal vote goes to DASHING ROGER, who has striking form figures of 1212 in 1m handicaps and raised his form to a new level with his close call on soft at Pontefract last time.
Redemptive has form claims, but she may not want really testing ground and this can lie between SONG OF THE ISLES and Al Suil Eile who occupied the first two places here a fortnight ago. The latter can have a good case made for turning the tables, but Song Of The Isles went well for Ellie MacKenzie when winning at Chepstow earlier in the year and her 7lb claim can prove decisive.
Preference is for JAMES PARK WOODS (NAP), who had plenty of traffic issues when third at Yarmouth two weeks ago and is a big player if he gets a decent pace and some luck on this drop back in trip.
Mustaqbal and Eponina are feared most, though Sir Plato got back on track with a placed effort at Windsor last week and has claims if he can back that up. Only The Brave returns from a lengthy absence, but she’s well treated on her best Irish form and needs checking in the market on her first run for Archie Watson.
Most of these have quite a lot to prove but the reliable INNER CIRCLE has a good record of 132 at this track and he was a clear second behind a handicap blot in the mud at Redcar ten days ago. He gets the vote ahead of Voltaic, who has run well in plating company in his last two starts and is on a workable mark back in a handicap. Another to consider is the lightly raced three-year-old Restricted Access, who looks a possible improver back at 7 furlongs in her second handicap.
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