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This is a minefield, with any number of lightly raced and hard-to-assess two-year-olds making their handicap debuts. The most solid contender is the only previous winner in the line-up, MOUNT RAINIER, who had shaped much better than the result on her second outing and came good at Ffos Las last week.
The market should prove informative about some of the others, with Naughty Nadine, Prince Kendeux, Galileo Glass and Langton Wold among those with plausible profiles.
Nigel Tinkler’s HIGH SECURITY is still seeking his first win, but he gave a good account when placed in higher-grade company at York recently and is selected to capitalise upon a new career-low mark. Shalaa Asker was a beaten favourite on his last two outings, but ought to be on the premises again and is feared most.
This looks an excellent opportunity for POET OF LIFE to add to last month’s Newbury win. Alhammaam was well behind the selection at Newbury, but had finished second on his debut prior to that and gets the nod for the forecast spot ahead of Tendentious.
DAWAAM caught the eye with his bid from off the pace in the John Smith’s Cup. If the ground went softer than good, that could swing things in favour of Spanish Archer who won this race two years ago, but it would possibly be against Good Birthday, who is otherwise also on the shortlist.
A useful field for this three-year-old handicap and the bulk of the runners have something to recommend them in the long term. Those that joined the gamble on Dream Composer at Royal Ascot will still be having nightmares about his circuitous route in the closing stages and he remains a well-handicapped sprinter. Bergerac, Cooperation and Imperium Blue can all feature, but POPMASTER is preferred. He may still be seeking his first handicap success, but he continues to leave the impression he has a big performance in him when the stars align.
Mutanaaseq can prove best of the older horses, but the three-year-olds may hold sway. Ubahha ran well behind a couple of fair sorts at Yarmouth and could progress again now handicapping, while Sound Reason is reliable and looks worth a crack at 6 furlongs. CAPTAIN VALLO (NAP) won quite smoothly at Hamilton 16 days ago, however, and he is taken to defy the 8lb rise.
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