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DARK NOTE went like the best horse at the weights when hitting the frame on handicap debut at Sligo two starts back, but not for the first time, he didn’t appear to see out the extended mile and a quarter trip. He was once again strong in the betting, but he was disappointing dropped back to a mile at Leopardstown last time, his chances not helped by failing to settle. However, he takes a drop in class now, and is expected to be seen in a better light. Together Aclaim and Girl Crush should also go well.
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EXPLORERS WAY showed promise on his middle start last season where he wasn’t beaten far by a useful sort of Aidan O’Brien’s and he left the impression he would come on for the run on his return at Tipperary last month. That was his first start since undergoing a gelding operation and over a significantly longer trip and if taking a step forward now as expected, he should be up to winning this. Fiddlers Green and Silent Prayer are fancied to pose the chief threats.
A low-grade three-year-old handicap which can go the way of MISS VIZEUN, who ran well under Colin Keane last time and looks the one to beat on that effort. She saw her race out better than previously on that occasion and may have even more to offer now fitted with a first-time tongue tie. Pessoa could do better upped further in trip and is a player also.
DANE FETE has run solid races to finish placed the last twice, not running his best effort on the figures at Gowran last time, but still leaving the impression he is in top form. He now takes on his elders for the first time and, as the sole three-year-old in the line, he could progress past some of these on these advantageous terms. Talbot and Church Mountain head the list of dangers.
MS EAGLETON shaped encouragingly on debut at Leopardstown last month and has since found just one too good in maidens over a mile at Cork and Listowel. Moving up in trip here looks a good move given how she’s been shaping and she gets the nod ahead of True Artist, who wasn’t far behind the selection at Listowel and, though still winless following 10 attempts, he should pick up a race before long. Blackberry Jack also has claims and Manwal is not one to give up on, for all that his latest effort at Limerick was underwhelming.
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SECRET SEA attracted support down in grade at Tipperary and showed improved form to double her career tally, showing a good attitude in the closing stages to fend off all challengers. That was the first time she has encountered ground firmer than good and a subsequent 6 lb rise shouldn’t be enough to prevent her following up if in the same form. Merroir, who has been running in listed company, may prove the biggest danger back in a handicap.
DERRY LAD was a cosy winner over an extended mile and a quarter at Sligo last month and this new trip should be within his range. There may be even more to come and he is taken to follow up here, perhaps at the chief expense of Molly Kaye, who found just one too good over hurdles on her latest start she remains on a workable mark. Indignation will be a danger to all if on-song, too.
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