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This doesn’t look a strong race and FAIR FRONTIERES, who is a two-time winner over hurdles, looks the obvious choice. He resumed winning ways at Warwick last month, benefiting from a drop in grade, but there’s no doubt he’s a useful novice. He looks an uncomplicated ride and is fancied to successfully concede 12 lb all round. Earth Business and Lucky So And So are the obvious threats.
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WIND TOR gained due reward for a series of consistent efforts when opening her account over fences over this course and distance 11 days ago and appears to have been found an excellent opportunity to follow up. Admittedly, that race was a poor one overall, but she pulled clear with one who had fallen to a career-low mark, and this contest doesn’t look any deeper. Her recent profile will continue to make her more appealing than a lot of low-grade handicappers. Madera Mist appeals as the one to chase home Polly Gundry’s in-form mare on her return from a break.
MORNING SPIRIT has fallen on two of his three starts over fences, but he ran to a useful level when runner-up to one that has progressed nicely since on his middle run over three miles at this track in December, and he was still going well when departing back here last time. He steps significantly up in trip now and is fitted with first-time cheekpieces, so is well worth another chance from what could prove a lenient mark. Classic Ben and Equus Dreamer look the likeliest dangers.
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A case can be made for several here, but the Paul Nicholls-trained SONIGINO looks weighted to bag a third career success. Both of his wins to date were gained in his native France, but he has shown enough for these connections to suggest he is up to winning more races from this sort of mark now back in a handicap. Franco d’Aunou is next on the list on the back of his good Fontwell second with in-form maiden Ballybreeze another who can have a say in an open handicap.
INDIROCCO didn’t manage to win while with Dan Skelton, but he has since won three of his five starts in points (latest in January) and he shaped well when runner-up in a similar event to this at Leicester earlier this month. He shaped like he is well up to winning races in this sphere, just unable to get the better of a useful sort on the day, and a similar performance can see him go one place better now. Famous Clermont has won four of his six starts between the flags for this yard and may prove the biggest danger.
A field of pointers making their first start under Rules. The obvious one is PARK HILL DANCER, who won his sole start in a point bumper in December and hails from a yard with an excellent record in these events. Hilltown and Black of The Glade also managed to win a point bumper in recent weeks so rate the main threats.
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