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It’s not easy to fathom where his sudden jolt of improvement came from but MANOR PARK won very easily over C&D ten days ago and, if that performance can be taken at face value, he might well overcome today’s 14lb higher mark. Handicap debutant Translink has had a wind operation since last month’s quite encouraging run at Market Rasen and is second choice. Good market support for Vision Clear and/or Kuiper Belt would need to be taken very seriously.
Supporters of CELESTIAL FORCE (nap) need to forgive a duff effort in a Grade 3 handicap at Haydock last month but he had excuses there, and the form of his earlier Sandown fifth looks strong. He gets the nod ahead of Byzantine Empire who beat a next-time-out winner in a Southwell novice last month and now makes his handicap debut. Thahab Ifraj is in prime form and also warrants consideration.
Guesswork is required to pick the winner from this field of hurdling debutants but the suggestion is RWANDA MIST, who made a satisfactory stable debut on the Flat last month and is out of a Listed juvenile hurdle winner. Burristo and Thistleton were the best of these on the Flat but their stamina for hurdling is not copper-bottomed. A bigger threat to the selection may emerge from Langafel, who was keeping on quite well at the end of a stiff 1m2f on soft ground two starts ago.
It’s easy to make a strong case for Floral Bouquet, who has won two recent chases, but an interesting alternative is three-time course winner KENTFORD HEIRESS, who has dropped to a very tempting mark and is sure to appreciate today’s return to good ground.
We haven’t seen EASYRUN DE VASSY since a substandard run last September but he made a bright start to his chasing career at Fontwell last summer and is selected to beat some regressive opponents here. Dual C&D winner Mr Mafia might give it a good shot from the front and is feared most, while Ballyegan Hero returned to form two starts ago and can probably be excused his subsequent defeat.
Whiskey Lullaby chased home a next-time-out winner in a handicap hurdle two starts ago and is open to improvement over fences if her wind surgery proves sucessful but MAHLER’S PROMISE ran well in defeat over 2m on his recent chasing debut and, now back up in trip, is given the vote. Old Harry Rocks has a very good record over C&D and is also considered.
Massimo can better his debut effort if the added cheekpieces keep him on his mettle, while David Pipe’s newcomer Pick Up The Pieces has good credentials on paper. However, the most obvious answer is BRIANNA ROSE, who made a pleasing debut when second at Southwell six weeks ago.
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