A quintet to view positively, with the vote going to VIRGINIA PLANE, who looks all speed and she should be a tough nut to crack from stall 2. Havagomecca arrives on the up and is second choice.
BYRON FLYER didn't fare too badly when mid-field in the Chester Plate last month and, eased 2 lb in re-fitted headgear, he could be the way to go. Civil Law should have more to offer but is engaged to race here on Friday, so Nicholas T is offered as the main danger.
ATALIS BAY was a 3-time winner as a 2-y-o and has made an excellent start to this campaign, making a winning return at Nottingham before beaten only by current King's Stand second-favourite Winter Power at York, and this looks a good opportunity for him to resume winning ways. The progressive Warrior Brave may emerge as the biggest threat ahead of Queens Carriage, who is also on the upgrade.
The unexposed GIFTED RULER took his form to another level when losing out on the nod at Newmarket 12 months ago. He's been off the track since, but this big-rangy galloper remains with potential and will be suited by this track, so could be the answer. Baashir is another lightly-raced sort who needs considering back on turf, while Dazzling Dan has made a good start to the season.
LATEST GENERATION has yet to reach his limit and left the impression that the trip was too far when below form at Newbury on return. He has a bigger performance in him back at a suitable distance with a tongue strap applied, so he's preferred to the in-form King's Knight, with Buxted too another one of interest after a couple of excusable runs.
Tough to rule any of these out but the vote goes to Ed Dunlop's globetrotter RED VERDON, who didn't need to be at his best when landing this contest at Doncaster last year and can put a few below-par efforts this year behind him. Makawee is a credit to her yard and she narrowly gets the vote for the forecast spot ahead of Ranch Hand.
CLASSIC LORD had a couple these well behind when winning at Haydock 3 weeks ago, pulling clear with a useful sort, and should make another bold bid up 6 lb. Mark Johnston holds a strong hand with 3 runners, headed by C&D winner Love Is Golden, while Man of Riddles is worth another chance to confirm debut promise down in class and on better ground.
Lots with chances in this prestigious sprint handicap. SKYRUNNER is taken to complete a quick hat-trick now he steps into handicap company and gets his first try at 6f having scored readily over the minimum trip at Pontefract. Showalong also steps up in distance having landed a Chester handicap impressively and is feared most with runaway Ripon maiden winner Blind Beggar next on the list.
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