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An open race in which the vote goes to SISTERANDBROTHER, who has found plenty of progress since switched to middle-distance handicaps and is on the same mark as for his clear second at Salisbury last Sunday.
The last-time-out winners Scheherazade and Crestwood are feared most in that order, though Lisdarragh went close in his bid for a double last time and is respected off his revised mark.
Most of these have quite a lot to prove and the one that stands out is ACCRINGTON STANLEY, who has been knocking on the door recently and is on the same mark as for his close second behind an improver who made all at Bath 12 days ago.
The main threat could come from the unexposed Sir Joseph Swan, who caught the eye with his late headway in a course and distance novice last time and looks interesting on his handicap debut.
Fast Response made all in a course and distance maiden two weeks ago and is open to more progress, but preference is for the other penalised runner ROCK MELODY, who wasn’t beaten far in a Listed race at Newmarket last time and sets a useful standard back in much calmer waters.
All of the other runners with experience have a lot to find with the selection, but the well-bred newcomer Typewriter needs watching in the market for a yard with a 24% record with two-year-olds here in recent years.
This is not as strong as the first division, but HERSILIA just about sets the standard on her promising fifth at Newbury and has plenty of scope for progress on her second start. She gets the vote ahead of Chelmsford winner Gypsy Lady, who got badly hampered at a crucial stage at Brighton last time and is respected on her drop back in trip. Another interesting contender is Piffle, who was not far behind the selection on her recent debut and should know much more this time.
The most striking contender is John Spearing’s seven-year-old A SURE WELCOME (NAP), who is as good as ever and made it four wins from his last seven starts when battling well over course and distance two weeks ago.
The main danger is the reliable Lihou, who has finished placed in Class 3 events in his last two runs and should give it another good shot. Others to keep an eye on are the three-year-old Operatic, who is unexposed at this trip, and last year’s winner Glamorous Anna, who is well treated if she can turn things around.
General Lee has the best form, but he’s 0-6 and again takes on some rivals who may be capable of improving past him. FUTURE has obvious potential, and she gets the vote over Into The Fire. Modestus also on the shortlist.
Top of the list is BETTY CREAN L A, who showed a good attitude when winning a Sandown maiden last month and is open to more progress off what looks a fair mark on her handicap debut. Companionship started her handicap career with a strong-finishing third over 1m at Newmarket and she’s a big danger on her return to this trip. Third on the list is One Small Step, who is feasibly treated on her best form and looks interesting on her first run at 1m2f.
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