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Debden Bank bids to complete a hat-trick here but he had to work pretty hard before asserting at Worcester last month and a recent 8lb rise asks quite a lot of him. Promising 5lb claimer Ben Godfrey is enlisted today but, even so, preference is for KRUJERS GIRL, who has posted two good efforts over hurdles since her comfortable chase win in May. Miami Present is a more speculative option to consider.
Most of these have a bit to prove on one count or another but DREAMSUNDERMYFEET has found plenty of progress with his emphatic wins over hurdles here in his last two starts and is a big player if he can make a smooth transition to chasing. The main threat could come from the versatile Court Duty, who was not beaten far at Newton Abbot last time and is well treated if he can build on that.
It’s hard to rule out any of these but it might worth siding with the admirable veteran ROCK ON FRUITY, who seems as good as ever and was a comfortable winner of a Class 3 event at Newcastle when last seen in March. Second choice is Yeavering Belle, who made a good start over fences when runner-up at Worcester in May and looks on a workable mark back in a handicap. Best of the others is the relatively lightly raced 8yo What’s Occurring, who looks interesting at this new trip.
It’s tricky to assess what Moveit Like Minnie achieved when winning a slowly run contest at Worcester last month so perhaps it might pay to chance Oliver Sherwood’s newcomer PUFFIN BAY, who is from the family of her owner’s top-class staying hurdler Mighty Man.
The top three on the racecard are all quite closely grouped on the figures but dual hurdle winner OLYMPIC CONQUEROR has proved very consistent for his new stable this year and gets the nod. Chance A Tune may benefit from today’s drop back in trip and is earmarked as the main danger, ahead of Byzantine Empire.
Forchena pulled clear of the others with the odds-on favourite at Hexham last month and has now won her last three but the pick is MISSCARLETT, who has returned to form since her wind op in April and appeared to have a bit left in the tank when winning at Uttoxeter last month. Handicap debutante Winged Dream is completely unexposed on ground quicker than soft and is one to watch in the betting.
It’s difficult to get away from PINNACLE PEAK (nap), who has displayed considerable improvement in cheekpieces this season and can overcome the 7lb penalty he incurs for last week’s wide-margin success at Worcester. Oasis Prince chased home a much-improved stablemate of the selection over C&D three weeks ago and may fare best of the others. Dancingwith Storms, You Name Him and Our Rockstar also have each-way claims.
Edinburgh Castle and Druim Samhraidh (preferred in that order) are two handicap debutants with significant potential but MYSTIC COURT was in very good form for Nick Mitchell this spring and is selected to continue to good work for his new yard. The 8yo was only third when favourite at Newton Abbot three weeks ago but the ground had turned against him there and, in the circumstances, he ran pretty well. Isthebaropen should also be on the premises.
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