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Matvei Platov ran well for a long way when fourth at Carlisle last time and he’s open to further progress, while there are some newcomers who need watching in the market, including Mark Johnston’s Espressoo and Kevin Ryan’s Claret Club.
However, it is hard to get away from COMMANDMENT, who has a striking pedigree and sets a good standard on her two promising placed efforts over this trip last month.
Kilconquhar returned to form with a comfortable win over course and distance 19 days ago and is a big player if he can back that up. Stallone is respected off only 1lb higher than for his second at Ayr last time. But, the vote goes to ABSOLUTE DREAM, who battled well when beating 18 rivals at Redcar last month and has held his form well with close calls in both subsequent runs.
Preference is for VENTURA FLAME, who has a record of 3-7 at this track and still looks feasibly treated off 3lbs higher than for her strong-finishing win at Beverley last time. The Cola Kid bids for a hat-trick on his stable debut and could be the main danger.
Musselburgh specialist SMART LASS is 3lbs higher than for her win in a Class 6 event there last time, but that was a personal best and she’s a major player again if she can continue the good work away from her favoured track.
The main danger is the versatile Where’s Jeff, who has striking form figures of 123231233 at this course. Another to consider is the selection’s stablemate Flood Defence, who went close over hurdles last time and is on a dangerous mark back on the Flat.
Most of these have plenty to prove and the one that stands out is five-time winner CHINESE SPIRIT (NAP), who had a near miss at Musselburgh last Saturday and is only 1lb higher here. The main threat could come from Shine On Brendan, who has finished placed in three of his last five starts, including a third behind the selection nine days ago.
Mac Ailey stayed on for third in higher-grade company at Ayr on Thursday and appears to have a very good chance off 4lbs lower here. However, he usually finds the winning line coming too soon and has become frustrating. It might pay to oppose him with TEFNUT, who didn’t run badly over 1m 4f here last month and might be seen to better effect over this shorter trip.
Havana Party had an excuse in a tactical race here when last seen in July. The other one on the shortlist is UNDER FOX, who has done well since blinkers have been applied and still looks feasibly treated.
This looks trappy, but it might be worth taking a chance on a return to form from Tim Easterby’s four-year-old TEMPER TRAP. He didn’t fire at Ayr last Friday, but he’s 3-4 at this track and still looks feasibly treated on his clear-cut win over course and distance on his penultimate run.
Detective has done most of his good work at Carlisle this season, but he’s been highly progressive in handicaps and is a big danger if he can transfer his form back to this course.
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