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Despite a record of 1-18 on turf Thrave has to be respected given that he has improved with each start since returned to grass and drops to this grade for the first time. However, preference is for ARRANMORE who won well at Carlisle last week on his third start for David O’Meara and still looks favourably weighted under his penalty. Although she is hard to win with these days, Oriental Lilly could go well off her reduced mark.
Market support for any of the newcomers would be interesting, but a couple of these have already shown a fair level of ability. Beltane should come on from his promising Carlisle debut, but MONSIEUR JUMBO nearly got off to a winning start over C&D 20 days ago and should be hard to beat if repeating that.
Harswell Duke is very much the unknown quantity on this handicap debut following his easy Musselburgh win but this is likely to be a completely different test and therefore WHITTLE LE WOODS (nap) is preferred. Michael Dods’s colt has run two creditable races since switched to turf and has given the impression on a number of occasions that a step up to 7f would suit.
If improving at all from his promising stable debut at Musselburgh Never Dark ought to go close, while Eeh Bah Gum appears to have dropped to a mark he can be competitive from, but SOUL SEEKER gets the vote. David O’Meara’s gelding won twice over this trip on fast ground in the spring and he ran really well from a disadvantageous draw in a big field at York last time.
This revolves around KEEP BUSY who has acquitted herself well at the highest level since last autumn, including a fine fifth in the King’s Stand seven days ago. Provided the quick turnaround doesn’t catch her out she ought to be winning this. Old rivals Wise Words and Dickiedooda have already shown their worth in Listed grade and look best of the others, though the improving Iva Batt may run better than her rating suggests she should.
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A couple of these may find this an inadequate test, but not WISE EAGLE who seemed to win with a bit more in hand than the head margin would suggest at Musselburgh last time and must have a good chance of following up from 1lb higher. The bang-in-form Greengage seems sure to run her race once again, while Ayr Poet looks interesting over this longer trip with the stable’s smart pair Euchen Glen and Sir Chauvelin among his half-brothers.
The drop in grade brings Equidae into the equation, but this may lie between the 3yos. Cool Dandy would have a chance if coping with the likely quick ground, but the vote goes to SYMBOL OF HOPE who has only had five starts and ran his best race on turf so far when runner-up at Doncaster nine days ago. He holds third-placed Tamaska on that form.
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