Main Fact can’t be opposed here as he goes for his eighth win in a row under both codes. His form has really taken off since switching to David Pipe, which has seen his hurdles rating rise from 98 to 147 and he has bolted up on his last two starts on the flat recently off marks of 60 and under a 5lb penalty. He runs here off a mark of 76 but that is very favourable compared to his hurdles mark and conditions hold no fears for him. He can take this en route to a crack at the Greatwood Hurdle on day three of Cheltenham’s Open meeting on Sunday week.
I’m taking a bit of a chance, but The Bell Conductor didn’t shape too badly last time considering it was his first start in a year and I think he will step forward considerably for that run. He was a useful juvenile last season, only beaten a neck on debut by the now 110 rated Toro Strike and followed that with a third behind Art Power (now rated 114) and Minhaaj (now rated 82).
He then ran the very useful Mighty Spirit to a neck, with the now 88 rated Intrinsic Bond in third. He did manage to get off the mark at Southwell on his final start last season. He was gelded after that and the handicapper has dropped him 2lbs to a mark of 82 since his run at Pontefract. If he steps forward for that and runs anywhere near his juvenile form, he could be very well treated.
Queen Amidala has been running poorly in her four starts this season, but the return to the all-weather might be the catalyst for her bouncing back to somewhere near her best. Unraced as a juvenile, she broke her maiden on her third career start at Killarnet and was placed on her first two starts at Dundalk in handicaps off marks of 71 & 73.
She was only beaten a short head when beaten off 73 over an extended 10 furlongs. Her poor form this season has seen her mark drop from 74 to 62 and with the yard having a winner earlier in the week, she could be a big price considering how well handicapped she has become.
Tipperary Jack is developing into a cliff horse of mine, as he was extremely impressive when winning at Kempton over 7 furlongs last November when clocking a very decent sectional. That was off a mark of 83 and he has flattered to deceive since then, but he found Class 2 company too hot last time and now drops to Class 4 company, while also taking a drop in trip to 6 furlongs.
That may well suit, as he can travel well and has a decent turn of foot and now finds himself 1lb below his last winning mark. He is very likely to be a double-figure price and I’m going to give him one last chance to prove that the win here last November was no fluke.
Crown Power is by far the most interesting runner as she is very much unexposed after just two runs and would look to be starting in handicaps off a fair opening mark of 85. She was second on her debut here, where she showed plenty of promise, while also suggesting that the experience wouldn’t be lost on her.
She made no mistake then on her second start here last time, where she was very strong at the finish which suggests that this extra furlong here should really suit her. The second and fourth have both won handicaps on their next starts, which gives that form a very solid look,
She is definitely the one to beat.
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