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This all-aged 6-furlong handicap has a lot more quantity than quality in it which drew me to the top end of the weights. Fastnet Crown ran a deal better than his finishing position of ninth of 16 at Fairyhouse last time out and none of the 19 declared runners will be finishing their race off better.
However, I think that INFLECTION POINT will have his number down the home stretch. The son of Invincible Spirit could never got to pace over the minimum trip last time out at Tipperary and this extra 220 yards should prove right up his street. Of his other rivals, the lightly raced, Bellagio Man – who is three years old – is also respected in a wide-open event.
Sword Beach has been harshly treated by the assessor, going up 4lbs for a half a length beating at Sandown over a mile last time out, when he seemed to relish the return to soft ground. However, I am not so sure that the Eve Johnson Houghton charge is as well suited by this extended trip and preference is for consistent, confirmed stayer CITY TOUR.
Placed on each of his last three starts, the son of Dutch Art may well prefer a slightly quicker surface, but does act on soft ground and the one thing we know is he will see out the trip comprehensively here.
If the ground does get very tacky then at a big price Proton is worthy of close consideration having won a novice hurdle in February on soft ground at Ludlow. Meanwhile, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Chai Yo Power is the least exposed in the field, going up in trip. However, this will be by far the slowest ground he has encountered on this his fifth start.
When I initially looked at this race, I rather fancied the chance of Topofthecotswolds following his really eye-catching run at this track over 2-and-a-half miles last time out. But on my reassessment, they are likely to go a much stronger clip here, despite the extra half mile, as there are plenty of entries in this 16-runner line-up that like to be at the sharp end of affairs.
That means I have changed my allegiance to the veteran and course specialist MINELLACELEBRATION from the Katy Price yard. To be fair to the handicapper he has given the 11-year-old a real chance here having dropped him 3lbs to a mark of 142 following his fourth of eight behind Burbank at Aintree last month.
I suspect he would have finished second at worst that day but for an almighty blunder at the third last and he looks strong each-way value against the Twiston-Davies charge, as well as the hat-trick seeking Back On The Lash.
This looks a pretty good staying chase for this level, but with bottomless ground likely and with more rain I the air on an already saturated surface, this will be a real test and a light weight will be a distinct advantage. TONTO’S SPIRIT has been in cracking form at the Cumbrian track of late, winning his last two starts over an extended 17 furlongs and showed no signs of stopping on both occasions.
This will be his first start over further than three miles, but he is a strong galloper that jumps particularly well and should relish the extra yardage. Yes, this is a significant step up class, but as a result of that he gets an almighty 22lbs from the top weight Burbank, who game winner at Aintree last time out. It could well be that recent Fakenham hero Thomas Todd is a bigger danger from a 5lbs higher mark here.
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