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PILDSON PEN has proved to be a different proposition in handicaps, showing improved form when causing an 80/1 shock to open his account at Wincanton in January and has progressed both starts since, resuming winning ways with plenty in hand at Huntingdon last time. A subsequent 9 lb rise demands more but he is clearly going the right way and he seems sure to launch another bold bid. Leicester scorer Rock On Tommy and lightly-raced Stanley Pincombe are others to consider.
LAKE CONSTANCE didn’t manage to get his head in front in bumpers, but he has created a good impression winning both of his starts over hurdles so far, and his form is proving strong. He still appeared to be learning on the job when scoring in listed company at Exeter last time and should have no trouble completing a hat-trick now moving back in class. Sporty Jim showed some promise on his first attempt in this sphere at Ayr and should leave that bare form behind.
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This doesn’t look the strongest breed of its type and it may be the day that the consistent PRINCESS ELEANOR can open her account over fences. She has finished runner-up on all five starts over fences so far, but there is nothing wrong with her attitude and she deserves extra credit for her consistency. She sets a good standard here and may have too much for these.
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With DELUXE RANGE‘s most recent effort back over timber easy to excuse, Sandy Thompson’s charge has dropped to a handy mark judged on the pick of last season’s novice form, so he’s afforded the vote in a race where cases can be made for a few. The main danger could be In Rem, who arrives chasing an impressive six-timer, but the handicapper may have caught up with him now.
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SHANTY ALLEY is yet to complete this season, but he is in better form than his recent starts suggest, shaping much better than being pulled up in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time. He was appeared to be undone by attempting to match strides with the eventual second and third that day (he also lost a shoe) and has since been dropped 5 lb in the weights. He is expected to have no problem with this longer trip and can prove too strong for The Newest One, who shaped as if still in good form at Ludlow.
HYLAND has shown ability in both bumpers and over hurdles in three starts this season and, though he might not have advanced his form a great deal, he looked to have learned from his hurdling debut when third under this rider at Doncaster last time. Nicky Henderson has been below his usual high standards recently, but an opening mark of 109 could well underestimate him, especially as he is entitled to improve further still over this longer trip. Groom de Cotte is another interesting handicap beginner.
TWIN-POWER is bred to come into his own once stepping up in trip over jumps, but he showed plenty on his debut when runner-up to a four-year-old filly he was conceding lumps of weight to on debut in a bumper at Wincanton in January , and is expected to build on that promise now. He had already undergone a breathing operation but was given a positive ride before not being able to go with the winner close home. It is worth noting the Paul Nicholls yard were under a cloud at that point, and he can be expected to improve considerably now. Bold Reaction rates an obvious danger on the back of his near miss at Doncaster.