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INGLEBY ARCH boasts a terrific record on this surface and comes into this in fine form following a good second here last week. Successful in two of his last four starts, he is the confident selection to add another victory to his name today and can see off the challenge of Cape Of Storms, successful at Wolverhampton latest. Punching is another who acts well here but Pilgrim Dancer looks up against it.
SAMASANA showed a really good attitude when knuckling down to beat First Bid over 7f here last week and the Redback filly should prove a tough nut to crack again. A C&D winner over the reopposing Pelican Rock on her penultimate start, she looks to be going from strength to strength now and Tony Hamilton gets on particularly well with her. The consistent J J Learly shouldn't be too far away again and makes up the shortlist, along with Pelican Rock.
Given the current form of the Mark Johnston stable, Authentication can be expected to improve from his debut effort. However, he has nearly 12 lengths to make up on COTTON TRADER from that Wolverhampton meeting and the latter has since confirmed his wellbeing with a narrow second at Lingfield. One of these races looks to be his for the taking and he has been found a decent opening today. Artisan can fill the third spot.
LA ESTRELLA has been wonderfully campaigned by Don Cantillon and chalked up his eighteenth success under Rules when sauntering home at Wolverhampton last month. The 9-y-o boasts a particularly impressive record at this venue and should be able to prove too strong for Halla San, who struggled badly in a 'bumper for jumpers' here earlier in the month. More than capable on his day, he could well bounce back to form, while Chookie Hamilton, although badly treated at these weights, should give his running.
BRUNELLO was made to work hard for his C&D success last month but the 4-y-o always looked to be doing enough and is fancied to supplement those gains today. The selection is forced to shoulder a 6lb penalty for that victory but is able to sneak into this 0-60 event off top-weight and should prove too strong for the in-form Mister Frosty and Spartan King.
Despite having to concede stacks of weight to all three of her rivals, BUBBLY BALLERINA should prove a class apart and is the confidently selection. Alan Bailey's 3-y-o landed a decent nursery in September and although well held at Lingfield in December, she won't need to be in top form to take this contest. Bella Ophelia won a weak maiden here last month and should continue to progress with Reve Du Jour and Ishiamiracle both coming into this in good form but needing to improve to trouble the selection.
D'Urberville has a good record on this surface but he hasn't been at his best in two starts since returning from an absence of over a year and he remains one to tread carefully. Rock Anthem is another with a little bit to prove having failed to fire at Kempton last time, while General Tufto isn't one for maximum faith. In a trappy affair, the most solid option might prove to be ST OSWALD, who ran well against higher-rated rivals in a decent seller here last time and has proved largely consistent over the winter months.
It's possible that Ingleby Arch and last year's winner Cape of Storms could get involved in a speed duel here, which would suit Punching, but the first named doesn't have to lead, and he can gain a ninth C&D win if running to his recent best.Timeform 1-2-3
Pelican Rock finished with a flourish when chasing home Samasana over C&D on his latest run and is fancied to turn the tables. J J Leary looks booked for another share of the place money.Timeform 1-2-3
Cotton Trader sets the standard but he has had his limitations exposed and he could prove vulnerable on his fibresand debut. Authentication is expected to leave his Wolverhampton debut behind him, and could easily improve enough to take the prize.Timeform 1-2-3
La Estrella has never been beaten on this surface and he can maintain that flawless record at the main expense of Halla San.Timeform 1-2-3
Spartan King was a neck in front of Mister Frosty when they were second and third here recently, the pair now taken to lead the field home. Last-time-out C&D scorers Cloudy Start and Brunello are 2 others to consider in a trappy event.Timeform 1-2-3
A case of sorts can be made for all 4, but the handicapper appears to have been lenient with Bella Ophelia's opening mark, and with improvement almost certain, she can make all to beat Reve du Jour.Timeform 1-2-3
D'Urberville knows how to win round here and after shaping quite well when third on his C&D return looks worth another chance having flopped since. St Oswald has put together some solid fibresand runs this winter and should be in the thick of things once again.Timeform 1-2-3
In his Monday update Barry Geraghty reflects on his rides from the past week including two placed efforts in Grade 1 company at Sandown on Saturday plus a double from two rides at Wincanton on Thursday.
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