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This looks a bit trappy. Willing To Please is a big player if she can bounce back on this drop back in trip, while Motawaafeq looks interesting on his best turf form last season and represents a yard with a 31% strike-rate in sellers in recent years.
However, the vote goes to GREEK KODIAC, who has a solid record on all-weather and turf since December and was beaten less than two lengths behind an improver in a Class 4 handicap at Yarmouth on his penultimate run.
This looks a good opportunity for BLOWING WIND, who returned from a break and gelding operation with a good second in a Thirsk handicap 23 days ago and sets a clear standard back in a maiden.
As If By Chance is the main form danger, though Sir Gregory was an eye-catching third at Wolverhampton on his debut in March and could be dangerous if he can build on that. Others who could be in the mix are Tiny Danser and Rory.
Barging Thru should make a bold bid to follow up his debut success at Chelmsford. But, on 7lbs better terms and further helped by Ray Dawson’s 3lbs claim, third-placed KING OF SPEED has a reasonable chance of turning the tables. There are several interesting newcomers in the line-up, too, so the market needs monitoring closely.
Those with experience hardly set a lofty standard and it would be no surprise were a newcomer to prove good enough. Silks Pass is a fascinating runner for Darryll Holland, but slight preference is for the speedily bred MERESIDE ANGEL, whose trainer went close to scoring with his first two-year-old runner of the year at Carlisle on Thursday. If the tongue-strap has the desired effect, Jungle Bee can also feature.
With four last-time-out winners in the line-up, this looks a warm sprint handicap. Top billing goes to NAVAJO SPRING, who won in the manner of a much-improved filly over course and distance last time and may well follow up. A host of dangers are headed by her stablemate Madreselva, and also include handicap debutant Sir Titus and the progressive pair Sound Reason and Atiyah.
A competitive renewal of this historic handicap can go to FIRST IMPRESSION (NAP), who failed only narrowly at Hamilton and is 1-1 over course and distance. Nicholas T, a place behind the selection last time and fourth in this contest in 2019, heads the list of dangers, with Baryshnikov, Anythingtoday and the unexposed Makram others to make the shortlist.
Three-time course and distance winner MR COCO BEAN has to put a poor effort behind him, but this isn’t a strong race and he makes the most appeal. Second choice is the likeable Cockalorum under a penalty for his Musselburgh win. Home Before Dusk should be thereabouts, while Jacinta De Vega is unexposed, but may be ideally suited by a longer distance.
Preference is for OLIVER’S BETTY, who didn’t get the best of runs before staying on strongly to record her breakthrough win at Ayr 20 days ago and is only 1lb higher here. Last month’s course and distance winner Sands Chorus is feared most, though Mac Ailey is on a good mark and could rediscover his spark on this step back up in trip.
Ephemeral looked a bit awkward when a close fourth at Lingfield last time, but she pulled clear of the rest and has claims if she can back that up back on turf.
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