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All runners arrive in good shape but the suggestion is progressive 4 years LOW STREET, who followed up his two fall victories with a third in a valuable 1m3f race here last month. The other 4-year-old, Cherokee Dance, is the second choice, but it’s also easy to make a good case for Deluxe Music, while La Hulotte can feature if suited to today’s changing surface.
Many in this area have worked well recently, including on C&D. MASK is one of those but was denied the chance to show what he was truly capable of last time out, when he was a heavy favorite but faced repeated problems in the closing stages. There’s no guarantee he’ll get any better luck today thanks to his wide draw, but he looks to bring the most potential, with Cusack holding him so tightly here in December. Oud Metha Bridge is also on the shortlist.
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The vote goes to DUCAL CROWN, who is very likely to build on his early promise at Kempton. Ex-Frenchman Albayaader (second choice) is respected, while Naasma, Ruby Ruby and Thewaytothestars are interesting newcomers. Any positive market movement should be taken into account.
Social Contact and Kissininthebackrow are the main contenders for form, but they may not be bombproof as the former was a beaten favorite last time out and the latter may be a bit flattered by his effort of 66-1 when still well placed. An interesting alternative is MAKAROVA, who seems open to many improvements in her second start. The past perfect is the second choice.
Back to 7f, AL SUIL EILE may be the answer. He won at this course in the last two months of January and remains well handicapped. Breckland (second pick) and Red Jasper are similar types who deserve respect at the bottom of the weights, while Madrinho enters the calculations again with Hollie Doyle on board and several others also have possibilities in an open race.
It remains to be seen if Devasboy gets another easy lead, given that his rival Neptune Legend could possibly re-adopt top-tier tactics. Mojomaker has possibilities if the transfer from his sprint turf form and King Of York can’t be dismissed outright, but triple-seeking seekers IMPERIAL MOUNTAIN and Neat And Dandy are set to take the top two spots in that order.
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After his solid second place in a 5f contest here 18 days ago, ISLAND OF KIRITIMATI (siesta) could do better. He should savor this increase in distance and seems open to new progressions in the handicaps. The second choice is Berkshire Phoenix, which has a solid chance in held cheeks. Gidwa, Thin Lizzy and Sandie’s Dream are also in the game.
Having so many established handicappers in serious contention makes it tempting to turn to the unexposed handicap beginner instead. AL SHOUGHOR. Second on the list is Asadjumeirah ahead of Equitation and Airshow, but it looks fiercely competitive with every rider screaming.
Southwell advice today
12:25 p.m. – Lower Street 12:55 p.m. – Masqool 1.25 – Ducal Crown 2.00 – Makarov 2.30 – Al Suil Island 3.00 – Imperial Mountain 3:30 p.m. – Kirimati Island (NAP) 4.00 – Al Shooughor
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