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This is a strong handicap, as evidenced by the presence of Listed winner Lipizzaner in his first handicap. The Highway Rat loves it around here and looks a progressive colt, but the one to beat could well be QUEENS CARRIAGE, a dual winner here who ran well on her stakes debut at Sandown last time when little went right.
Not many of these count. Irish Acclaim could well come back to form back on his favourite surface, but the one to beat is clearly WAR HERO, who acts on a higher level on this surface and is well-treated by the race conditions. Intend is potentially interesting.
A wide open handicap and cases can be made for almost all of these. Slight preference is for PUERTO DE VEGA, who ran well after missing the break at Gowran and if a bit more streetwise here he could take beating. Devious Dreamer, Dandyville and California Poppy make most appeal of the others.
The form is represented by Chicago Black Hawk and Irish Chief, both with their share of question marks. Bonte Moi is a lot better than what she has shown, but RIVER EDEN (NAP) impressed when winning a barrier trial here two weeks ago in a canter from Saturday’s Navan runner-up Wren’s Breath and could be very smart.
Zahee probably has the best form claims on his recent turf form over 7 furlongs, but he has looked vulnerable over this trip in the past. He is opposed here by the less exposed WRIST ART who caught the eye staying on from the rear over this trip at Bellewstown on his handicap debut. Tanseeq and longtime maiden Philly’s Hope are likely dangers.
Probably the more competitive division. DESIGNER CAILIN was just denied an all-the-way win at Bellewstown recently and should make a bold bid here from a low draw, even though the three-year-old is a few pounds out of the handicap. Previous course and distance winners Mulzamm and Miss Cunning head the list of dangers.
Unless Joseph O’Brien’s recent Barrier Trial winner Rollet proves above-average, this appears to be a match between Malawi and SAFECRACKER, both with a sufficient level of form to win a maiden such as this, slight preference being for the latter who is probably better suited by this trip.
Competitive with plenty of previous course and distance winners, notably Dame Rapide and Chateau Musar. But, one who could upset them all is the lightly raced maiden ELUSIVE GIGOLO, who shaped really well on his recent turf return over this trip and could have more improvement in him than most.
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