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Avanzata made a very encouraging handicap debut over 7f last month and is open to more improvement over 1m. However, LION HUNTER ran well enough for long enough in a fairly good Bath maiden this month to suggest he can win a run-of-the-mill handicap such as this.
Spreadsheet comes here on the back of a game success but HAVEONEYERSELF belied a big drift in the market to win at Lingfield last time and he should be happier back on faster ground. A 3lb rise looks manageable and this is a drop in class.
Zoltan Star and Withering (preferred in that order) have both shown enough to suggest they’ll be in the shake-up but the one to beat is AMERICAN STAR, who chased home a useful rival at Newbury 23 days ago.
On what we have seen so far, there seems little doubt that Nine Tales is the most talented runner in the field. However, he did not look straightforward when winning at Haydock last time and has a penalty and a drop in trip to overcome, plus the possibility of softening ground if the forecast storms arrive. He still remains the one to beat but may be worth taking on with BLUEBIRD DAY, who ran a virtual solo on the far side when runner-up over 7f here last time and wouldn’t be inconvenienced by any rain. Micks Dream and newcomer Prop Forward are worth considering.
Richard Hannon saddles three runners and topweight Theotherside looks the pick of them. However, she could have her hands full to cope with ARAMIS GREY, who returned from a fruitful spell on the AW with a solid second on turf last time. Enduring and, in particular, Sovereign Slipper are others of interest.
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There has to be a fair chance that the well-bred newcomer Stimulate might be too good for these, but racecourse experience counts for a lot so FIRE EYES gets the vote after a strong-finishing second last time over a trip too short. This return to a longer distance will suit and she can get off the mark. Iconique is another interesting newcomer, while Touchet Beret showed ability, albeit having raced freely, on her debut and is worth a second look along with Rose Tiara.
Although FLEURMAN (nap) was beaten when upped to an extended 1m6f at Doncaster last time, that was a fine effort in a good scrap and he makes plenty of appeal. His two runs in handicaps (the other was a 1m4f win here) were on good to soft but his earlier novice runs on good ground were over an inadequate 1m, so he probably should not be judged on them. Genesius may prove better suited by this trip than the recent hat-trick scorer Tralee Hills, so the Prescott 4yo is second on the list.
Tips for Salisbury today
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