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Clive Cox has two runners in this race, with stable jockey Adam Kirby being unable to do the weight on our selection ARATUS. He rides Dance Fever instead, who is a solid performer in this type of contest. However, I feel it’s significant that Clive Cox is continuing to plunder good prizes with Aratus and the son of Free Eagle has made a good impression so far. He is learning to race properly and is still well handicapped off his mark. He will do for me!
When KHAADEM won the Stewards’ Cup a couple of years ago lots of people thought he could make the jump up to Graded level very easily, such was the authority of that win. he hasn’t managed to win since then and I reckon you have to put a line through his last run. He was drawn wide over 7 furlongs at Chester that day, which is very difficult to win from.
I thought he ran well in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle finishing very close to another one of today’s runners Tabdeed and the blinkers he will wear on Saturday are key. If they get the required improvement, he could be a real good value bet in this contest.
This is a weak renewal of this contest and Roger Varian has found the perfect opportunity for NAGANO to make the jump from handicap to a conditions race and I feel this is a great chance for David Egan to bag another winner on this son of Fastnet Rock. He is versatile ground wise and he is also a winner of a race at the track, which I feel is all important in this one.
There is a couple of previous winners of this contest in here in the form of JUDICIAL and Dakota Gold. The Michael Dods entrant is drawn 10, which is far from ideal, but Dakota Gold is very fast which suits here. Judicial is drawn better in stall five and he was a good winner over Dakota Gold at Chester over 6 furlongs at the start of the month. You’d have to believe that Judicial ticks in the right boxes here.
Significantly was very slowly away at Ascot last time, but was a game winner at the Royal meeting. He can be tricky at the start, but if this colt gets away – especially being drawn in stall three – he will take a bit of pegging back. The doubts with him at the start are a concern though, and that sways me back to Judicial.
This is a race that revolves around the well-being of Benbatl. He has not run for almost a year, but he is very smart and he wasn’t beaten very far in the Joel Steaks at Newmarket when last seen. If he was in peak form, they would struggle to get near him. This is the perfect trip for this horse and he could just be too good for them.
However, it’s his first run of the season and I’m going to take him on with a horse who has dined at the top table all season, finishing fifth in the 2,000 Guineas. CHINDIT represents Pat Dobbs and Richard Hannon, who are having a good season and he can add to it here.
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