Ladies to rule at Lingfield
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's terrestrial TV action from Kelso, Lingfield and Newbury.
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No Planning had been in fine form prior to his latest run at Warwick but may be in the handicapper's grip now. All of Sydney Paget's victories have come on ground with some give but he would have every chance on his win at Haydock in the autumn while Gullinbursti hasn't shown much since winning at Market Rasen in November. It's asking a lot of The Panama Kid to bounce back from a poor run here last month and Fentara looks ready for a rest but Imperial Vic is starting to come down the weights and could go well. ISLA PEARL FISHER is the senior runner here and on a career-high mark. But he gave weight and a beating to useful novice Kris Cross at Musselburgh two runs ago and a repeat of that effort could see him take this.
Bally Legend's victory in a Grade 3 handicap at Kempton four weeks ago was unexpected but he'd go close in this with a repeat performance, though Domtaline was giving him 3lb when only beaten a neck at Exeter in December and is receiving weight here. The latter looks the best of Paul Nicholls' runners as Ulck Du Lin has been a big disappointment this season. Greywell Boy is back over a longer trip after winning at Sandown and may be in the handicapper's grip now, though is still preferred to Pepite Rose and Balzaccio. Tony Star and GRANDADS HORSE are out to advertise Cheltenham form, though both were well beaten behind Present View at The Festival. The latter had more excuses as he was having his first run since November and wouldn't have enjoyed the tacky ground. He beat Tara Rose at Wetherby in the autumn and isn't badly treated on that form.
A few of these have been taking each other on in handicaps over the winter. Even Stevens reversed earlier form with Silken Express at Wolverhampton last time with Swiss Cross, Forest Edge and Addictive Dream further behind. But the latter has subsequently beaten several of the above over track and trip. Kingsgate Choice and Stepper Point were last seen in the l'Abbaye at Longchamp and the former has gone well fresh before while Monsieur Joe has been competing in tough handicaps at Meydan without success. Last month's Cleves Stakes over 6f here is proving a good trial and LADIES ARE FOREVER won it last year before claiming this prize. Geoff Oldroyd's mare could only manage sixth in the Cleves this time round but is fancied to reverse running with fourth-placed Iptisam and come good again today.
Toubeera's winning run came to an end at Doncaster at the start of the month but she did beat Massanie at Plumpton in January, though there shouldn't be much between the pair on the revised terms and she is closely matched with the hat-trick-seeking Fairytale Theatre on collateral form. Down Ace had no chance behind Quevega at Cheltenham and this may come too soon but there are possibilities about northern raider Run Runctions Run and Ludlow scorer Midnight Cataria. Lily Waugh looks to be progressing as well but Free Thinking finished well behind The Pirate's Queen over 2m here in November. LUCI DI MEZZANOTTE never figured when finishing behind Toubeera over 3m at Doncaster last time but is weighted to reverse that form here and the likely fast pace will suit Oliver Sherwood's mare. She may be allowed to start at generous odds in what looks a very open race.
A hard race to call with not much separating the field on today's terms. The Hannon yard have a good record in this so Expert is worth considering and Sir Robert Cheval represents last year's winning trainer. Alutiq was highly tried last term and won a conditions race here on his return while American Hope chased home the 97-rated Ben Hall over 6f at the track last time. Ryan Moore partnered today's mount Brazos to victory at Goodwood last season and Pool House and Bow Creek are winning handicappers to note. ERTIJAAL was put away after picking up a maiden race at Yarmouth in June in impressive style. Entries in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh suggest he's held in high regard and Willie Haggas' charge gets the vote on his return.
Surprisingly, given the race title, none of the Alan King entries have stood their ground but several other big yards are represented. Paul Nicholls' BUCK'S BOND is a law unto himself but very capable if in the mood and his best efforts have come on good going. He still isn't badly treated so gets a very tentative vote ahead of the classy-but-luckless Highland Lodge and Roalco De Farges. Philip Hobbs also runs Bertie Boru but Richard Johnson rides the nine-year-old who should now be approaching peak fitness and was second to Tidal Bay in the 2012 bet365 Gold Cup off a 7lb higher mark. Storm Survivor chased home Night In Milan in a Class 2 handicap at Doncaster three weeks ago and can't be ignored while Reblis won a couple of staying handicaps at Plumpton earlier this season, though has shot up the weights since. Niceonefrankie's defeat of Double Ross at Ascot in November is very solid form and he's been keeping good company since - he's another to consider.
Farraaj beat Robin Hoods Bay, Circumvent and the 2012 winner, Premio Loco, in last year's renewal but has disappointed in both subsequent starts. It's hard to know what to expect from him today while both Windhoek and Aussie Reigns will need to improve on their recent form in handicaps at Meydan. Listed winner Dick Doughtywylie and the in-form handicapper Rebellious Guest should both go well, but a few of these found Grandeur too good here last month. The latter is a cut above at his best and though today's high draw has made his task more difficult, Jeremy Nodesa's charge remains the most likely winner. However, there may be better value elsewhere including Mirsaale, beaten seven lengths in last year's Derby, but the French raider VODKATO rates a sporting selection. Stephane Wattel's charge is a multiple winner on the Polytrack at Deauville and could make the frame after running well in a hot conditions race on the all-weather at Chantilly earlier this month.