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Abnaa (second choice) bolted up over C&D last week and looks well treated under a penalty so he has to be high on the shortlist. RING OF GOLD wasn’t seen to best effect over 1m here last time but his previous Kempton win offers hope he is still well handicapped.
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Written Broadcast (second choice) is 4lb better off with ATRAFAN for just over one length on last week’s C&D run but the selection showed a willing attitude to prevail there and that will continue to stand him in good stead at this level. Hachert is best of the rest, although a better effort from Forbearing could be on the cards too.
Most of these have something to recommend them. Della Mare (second choice) has conditions to suit and could still have a bigger effort in her, while Deputise, Blackjack and Starter For Ten are others to take very seriously. TRIGGERED has never been prolific but he made up significant ground from the rear to take second at Kempton last week and rising star Billy Loughnane takes over for the first time.
It doesn’t always pan out as may be expected but it is hard to think this won’t be run at anything other than a frenetic gallop with some speedy horses in opposition. Vespasian is interesting back at 5f, while Strong Johnson (second choice) is a fascinating contender on his stable debut and Hiya Maite may not have finished improving just yet. TOLSTOY (NAP) hasn’t found his very best form for Stuart Williams but the signs were more promising here on New Year’s Day and a lesser run at Lingfield last time is easy enough to forgive. He could sweep through late off what is becoming an appealing handicap mark.
This is open but perhaps SOARING STAR will have what it takes back on a track that suits. He has had a quiet winter but there were clear signs of a return to form at Newcastle in November and a recent wind operation may also have helped. Last week’s impressive course winner Liberated Lad has clear claims on that form but things didn’t go his way when finishing remote in a strange race at Newcastle on Sunday and this is his third race in five days. Things haven’t always gone to plan for Midnight Train but he may prove the main danger, ahead of Miss Harmony.
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Not a strong maiden and a peak-form The Toff would make them all go. His profile isn’t convincing though and perhaps THIRD BATCH, who has improved from run to run, may be able to break her duck at the fourth attempt. Hazel Bear, Inny Lad and David’s Diva are capable of better, while a market move for Stolen Encounter would look significant.
De Vegas Kid and Daafy (second choice) both make the shortlist in a race that could be run to suit but the thriving RUN TEDDY RUN looks to have plenty in his favour in his bid for a quick C&D hat-trick.
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