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Only two runners have the benefit of experience and the form standard is set by MRS FITZHERBERT, who showed clear promise over C&D last month. Sans Pretention, Eshaada, Quenelle D’Or and Aveta are interesting debutantes in that rather tentative order of preference. The market signals should help to firm up the pecking order.
This has a similar shape to the first division. Yarmouth runner-up DANCING TO WIN sets the form standard and holds Skytree by almost 7l on that debut form, though the latter is also open to improvement. Again some of the newcomers are interesting, notably Silver Horn who has a fantastic pedigree and commands a good deal of respect.
Soapy Stevens has the best form but shapes as if his forte will be middle-distance handicaps next year and he’s up against several bright-looking debutants. ORIENTALISM has particularly strong credentials, while other likely types are the Frankel colts Fantastic Fox, Navegaon Gate and Stiletto. The betting should help to firm up what’s expected.
This looks open as three runners are closely matched on C&D form three weeks ago, while most of the handicap newcomers are open to improvement. The top two on the shortlist are very similar types from the latter group, namely BRUNNERA and Local Law in that slight order of preference. Gordonstoun, Sammy Sunshine and Distinction are set for a tight-looking rematch on the revised terms.
There is some reluctance in opposing Main Fact but his winning spree may be stopped by the improving 3yo CALL MY BLUFF, who is unbeaten since fitted with cheekpieces and looks open to further progress over staying distances. Class-dropper Speedo Boy may prove best of the remainder.
The return to 5f worked a treat for JOHN KIRKUP at Pontefract and he’s taken to follow up that success. He has a good strike-rate at this trip and again has the ground in his favour. Second choice is Lincoln Park, who is going into unknown territory over this distance but should be a big player if he copes with it. Fox Hill is respected on her soft-ground form this autumn
This fiercely competitive sprint handicap can go to SHEEPSCAR LAD. The Nigel Tinkler-trained 6yo travelled eye-catchingly well when second over 6f at Redcar last time and should be more potent at the minimum trip. Hey Ho Let’s Go and Tom Tulliver are well handicapped and head the dangers. Harry’s Ridge, Tilsworth Rose and Charles Le Brun are others with chances.
There are several to consider but preference is for the thriving 3yo BAD COMPANY (nap), who has the assistance of Serena Brotherton in his bid for a four-timer. Today’s conditions could be ideal for the unexposed Ring Of Gold and he is feared most. Gamesters Icon won this last year and Menin Gate, Blistering Barney and Born To Please all won on soft ground last time out, with Regular Income another who will relish the testing conditions.
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