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BELLA CAELIA proved that she handles testing conditions when finishing a never-nearer fifth on her nursery debut at Brighton recently and that could count for plenty here. She also reacted well to first-time blinkers (retained) on that occasion, so she’s put forward in a tricky opener for a yard going well. Greta Bridge was runner-up to a subsequent winner on her most recent start at Redcar, but that effort came on a sound surface. Acklam Gold and Petal Power complete the shortlist.
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AADEL seems to be improving steadily and both his action and pedigree provide hope for better still now tackling softer ground for the first time. This doesn’t look the strongest race of its type and he gets the nod to open his account. Tolstoy sets the clear standard but looks opposable. Meanwhile, Fast Glory represents a yard that saddled two winning newcomers last week, so he requires a close look in the betting.
SACRED JEWEL cost a fair bit as a yearling and started a short price for a Newmarket maiden on debut in the summer. She made plenty of appeal on paper – out of a Temple Stakes winner – and she left the impression she would improve a fair bit for that initial experience.
It is a little disconcerting that we haven’t seen her since, but she could hardly be in better hands and this looks a good opportunity. Atomise found Listed company too much on her second start, but she’s likely to still improve on her promising debut effort, so she can chase the selection home.
TIPPERARY TIGER has found it tough going from handicap marks in the 80s lately, but he is a potential class act now dropping into a claimer for the first time. He made a winning debut on soft ground, so testing ground is no concern and he looks a solid proposition. Recent Catterick winner Imperial Eight rates an obvious danger, while Glinbury is another who has struggled in handicaps of late, but may find life easier at this level.
AFAAK’s last win came in a soft-ground Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in 2019, but he produced his best effort since when runner-up at Haydock a month ago. Now he’s back in form, is too well treated to ignore. Dashing Roger found the Balmoral Handicap too much last week, however is expected to bounce back at this level.
It’s been well over two years since TAWNY PORT last hit the target on turf, but he goes well in the mud and is worth chancing back from a break here off a potentially very handy mark – some 14lbs lower than for his latest all-weather success at Cheltenham. Ey Up It’s Maggie has been knocking on the door of late and Ishvara is capable when on-song, but Ventura Flame and Four Adaay rate the main dangers.
Plenty with a chance, but LOCKDOWN DREAM hasn’t been with Fergal O’Brien long and arrives in excellent nick. He has had a wind operation since his latest third at Catterick, so gets the nod for a yard among the winners. Licit is on a long losing run, but is feared most on the back of his good recent Redcar second. Yarmouth-scorer Pillars of Earth is another who needs considering along with Legal Rights and Nikolayeva.
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