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SPEECH BUBBLE attracted sustained support when making a winning debut in a bumper at Ffos Las last season and went on to record above-average form in that sphere. She also made an encouraging start over hurdles when runner-up on her return to action in November, taking a strong hold early but keeping on well when making a mistake at two out. She is entitled to improve for that experience now and is well up to winning a race of this nature. The 7 lb she receives from previous winners Tweed Skirt and Swincombe Fleat may well prove to be decisive.
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WALKING ON AIR is a well-related sort who produced a promising first effort when beaten only by a more speedier type on debut in a bumper at Kempton last season. He was well supported that day but failed to settle in the early stages, though he led on the bridle entering the straight before showing signs of greenness when push came to shove. That experience won’t have been lost on him, and he looks most interesting now sent hurdling for a yard that do especially well in these events at this course. Maclaine, Cousu Main and Hecouldbetheone are all open to improvement, so they rate as obvious alternatives.
AMARILLO SKY hasn’t always looked straightforward, but he has done little wrong since sent chasing, winning at Wincanton before finishing second in similar event at Asco last month that is working out well. He was up against it at the weights that day against the penalised winner who has since won again, and he is only 1 lb higher here in a less-competitive handicap, so is expected to resume winning ways. Light N Strike could have more to offer over fences so is put forward as the main danger.
FINE CASTING was progressive in bumpers last season, and can boast a similar record over hurdles, notably strong in the betting and building on his previous experience when opening his account in good style at Ffos Las last month. He appeared to relish the drop back in trip, settling better than usual and finding plenty to repel the challenge of the persistent runner-up in the closing stages. The handicapper may have taken a chance with his opening mark of 114 and he rates the type that will be suited by this bigger field. Chanceux has won his last two starts and is another to consider now also making his handicap debut.
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HAWTHORN COTTAGE put her experience to good use when recording a second win over fences at Kempton in November and ran about as well as could be expected upped into listed company over this course and distance last time. She was allowed a soft lead on that occasion which helped her chances against superior opposition and she appeals as still being on a fair mark back in handicap company. Keep Wondering is only 3 lb higher than when successful at Haydock last month and looks a danger.
GRAN LUNA had three of these rivals in behind her when scoring over course and distance last time. and is very much going the right way so, having been raised just 2 lb in the weights for that success, she is fancied to uphold the form and add to an already impressive strike rate. Voice of Calm, a head second to the selection that day, is likely to give another good account and looks the main danger.
AUTHORISED SPEED is the clear pick on form following his runner-up effort in a strong listed bumper at Ascot last time, and might well have even more to come, so he’s a straightforward selection to open his account in what could well be another above-average bumper. Kingsand Bay, who represents a yard that do especially well in this sphere, is the pick of the newcomers and needs monitoring in the market.
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