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Most of these have quite a lot to prove but STARSHIBA has leading claims on his best form this season including two near misses during the summer and another second at Epsom on his penultimate run. He should be unfazed by this return to sprinting and gets the vote for a yard with a 30% record in claimers this year. The 3yo Alfred Cove still has potential and he’s feared most for his in-form stable.
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A number of these have been inclined to pull hard, notably Thunder Ball, who’s surely up to winning off this mark if more amenable back up from 5f. Wadi Bani is worth a second look but ELEGANT CHARM remains open to improvement for her powerful yard having not found the race run to suit over C&D last time.
James Fanshawe’s HICKORY has been on the sidelines since his clearcut debut win at Yarmouth in August 2020 but he’s the standout contender on that form and should be hard to beat if he can run anywhere near that level on his comeback. No Turning Back looks a possible improver dropped to 7f on her second start and she could be the pick of the opposition, but there are some newcomers to keep an eye on, including Darryll Holland’s well-related 3yo Bluebells Boy.
Lelabad finally got it right 18 days ago after a string of defeats at short prices but this is stronger and he’s 3lb higher, so a chance is taken on BIN HAYYAN, who’s upped in trip on his AW debut having been gelded. Raqraaq still has a bit of potential but Fawn At Play has to prove her easy Ffos Las win wasn’t a one-off.
Covert Mission, who’s 2-3 in 1m Polytrack handicaps, should do better, especially if able to dictate, while La Rav remains more than capable at this level if they go a good pace and he settles. The lightly raced WADACRE GRACE is preferred, though, having bounced back to form last time on her first go at both this trip and Polytrack.
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Andrew Balding had Sea Grey for his first two races and David O’Meara has taken over with what should be an interesting handicap newcomer. However, preference is for the tried-and-tested BASE NOTE, who has resumed his good progress on AW after two flops on turf. Knightswood is second on the list.
Largo Bay and Typewritten are enjoying productive seasons and can both go well, while handicap debutante Stars Are Born and fellow 3yos Arab Cinder and Moonis also have something to recommend them. STUDY THE STARS wasn’t disgraced in a stronger race here last month though and he may be up to defying top weight.
Stepping up to 2m could prompt better from World Without Love and Wannabe Brave but the key formline could be the C&D handicap four weeks ago which saw Blazeon Five finish in front of Stiletto and ANISOPTERA (nap). Blazeon Five retains potential as a stayer and is greatly respected but the selection was returning from a long spell on the sidelines and tanked through the race before tiring late on. She could take a good step forward with that run behind her.
Kempton tips today
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