Melody can hit the right note
Man On The Spot previews all Saturday's terrestrial television action which comes from Cheltenham and Doncaster.
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KINGS PALACE created a hugely favourable impression when scoring 18 lengths over a longer trip here last time. The second won next time so the form looks solid and David Pipe's gelding can take this step up in grade in his stride to complete the hat-trick. Saint Roque was only third at Kempton earlier this month and is very exposed for a race of this nature. But he won over 3m between the flags so the step up in distance may suit. Milan Bound is heading in the right direction but this is easily his toughest task to date while Flicka Williams' three wins have come in handicaps. Berea Boru was conceding 14lb to Potters Cross when beaten nine lengths at Ffos Las and it's likely to be a lot closer today. Both are preferred to Masters Hill.
ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR beat the re-opposing Fox Norton only a neck on his hurdling bow but has improved since then. He remains unbeaten over timber having landed a Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham last month and is the one to beat. Recent Musselburgh winner, Dispour, is going the right way but has plenty to find with the selection on today's terms, while both Broughton and Zamoyski are even harder to fancy in this company. The German raider Cafe Au Lait finished runner-up at Warwick last month and will need a big step up on that to get the better of Nicky Henderson's charge.
Johns Spirit beat Colour Squadron by three-quarters-of-a-length in the Paddy Power here last month. But he was treading water close home and the runner-up, who was badly hampered when closing on the leaders two out, must have every chance of turning the tables on slightly better terms. ATTAGLANCE who, like Colour Squadron is still seeking a first victory over fences, was a six-length fourth but racing from out of the handicap that day and meets the winner and second on 9lb and 7lb respectively better terms. A winner over hurdles at The Festival here last year, he may finally be getting the hang of jumping the larger obstacles and can also reverse earlier Perth running with Double Ross to land this nice prize. Cantlow, Easter Meteor and Grandioso filled the places at Newbury at the end of last month. The latter may come out best today but Salut Flo will do well to figure after a long absence and the mare Ma Filleule is racing over fences for the first time in the UK.
Zarkandar won this last year but was receiving weight from his two market rivals. The boot is on the other foot this year, though he did beat THE NEW ONE over 2m4f in the Aintree Hurdle in April and ran well at the weights when second to Annie Power on his reappearance. Nigel Twiston-Davies believes his charge has grown and improved over the summer, however, and he certainly have that impression when readily bounding clear of former champion Rock On Ruby at Kempton in October - he can win again. French raider Albert Hall has been on a remarkable run, winning three times over hurdles and twice on the Flat since the beginning of August. But he was pulled up in a handicap on his only previous start in the UK. Fellow Gallic challenger Seabreeze D'Ho also appears to have it all to do while Court Minstrel has been well below par so far this term, though has a much higher rating than both Hawkhill and Jumps Road.
Lost Glory beat DE BOITRON a neck at Wetherby earlier this year. The latter arrives in much the best form of that pair having scored at the same track a week ago and can reverse running in the process of landing this. Bear's Affair opened his account over fences with victory at Kempton last month and should be in the mix, but Mart Lane would prefer more cut in the ground. Carrigmorna King is upped another 4lb for finishing second at Newbury and Night In Milan makes more appeal back over the larger obstacles after a couple of recent outings over timber.
Gemix took the scalp of World Hurdle winner Solwhit in a Grade 1 at Auteuil in June and has to be respected. But all of his form is on soft or heavy ground and he may find today's ground too lively. Salubrious and More Of That step out of handicap company but the latter is open to plenty of further improvement after only three career starts and looks a tough customer. GLENS MELODY has won four of her last five starts, including a Grade 1 at Punchestown in April. She never came off the bridle at the latter track on her reappearance and, though this is a much better race, she must be given a chance to show she is still progressing.