Samcro is back and there's some quality fare at Wetherby - don't miss David Clough's tips for a busy Friday of racing.
Nap: Kasbaan (2.15 Newmarket)
Next Best: Lady Aria (1.40 Newmarket)
Lady Aria may prove a cut above her rivals in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Bosra Sham" Fillies' Stakes at Newmarket.
Michael Bell's Kodiac filly has kept significantly better company than the majority of her eight rivals and should really have them covered in the six-furlong centrepiece of Friday's card at HQ.
It took Lady Aria four attempts to hit a winning note, before she did so with ease at long odds-on in a Haydock maiden at the end of September. t is what she achieved before then, though, that sets her apart here.
After outrunning her 10/1 starting price over course and distance in a narrow defeat against previous scorer Firelight, Lady Aria was unable to get off the mark down to five furlongs at Chepstow.
But she nonetheless graduated with honours to Group Three level, improving past Firelight in the process, when only Yourtimeisnow could beat her in the Shadwell Dick Poole Fillies' Stakes at Salisbury. She has fine prospects of a second successive career success.
Her jockey Jason Watson may be in for a fruitful afternoon - because he teams up again with Danzan in the Heath Court Hotel Conditions Stakes.
On the face of it, after a seven-month break during which Danzan was gelded, Andrew Balding's three-year-old faces a tough assignment to concede 22lb to likely favourite Madkhal.
But class, experience and maturity can count for plenty, and Danzan proved that with predictably easy back-to-back Polytrack victories over this six-furlong distance at Chelmsford when he was last seen.
Kasbaan appeared to derive remarkable benefit from a five-month break, and perhaps more so a wind operation, when he got off the mark decisively at his third attempt.
That was on the all-weather at Lingfield in September, when he easily floored a 1/2 favourite.
The market may remember Owen Burrows' colt floundering over this course and distance previously, but if so that will be extra reason to support him to follow up in the Christmas At The Heath Court Handicap.
Under the lights at Kempton, Castlelyons arrives for the 32Red Handicap on the back of a near seven-month break.
The six-year-old will shoulder top weight of 9st 7lb in this tight contest, a London Middle Distance Series Qualifier, but he signed off in encouraging form in a similar race here and has often demonstrated a handy knack of running well fresh.
There are two intriguing cards over jumps, at Uttoxeter and Wetherby, and it is West Yorkshire that perhaps provides the best investment opportunities.
Poetic Rhythm disappointed when pulled up on his debut over fences, but can get back on the right track in the Best Jumps Action On Racing UK Novices' Chase.
A Grade One winner over hurdles last December, Fergal O'Brien's charge could not hit quite the same heights in two subsequent starts last term, but connections retained full faith that he could shine over fences.
However, his jumping did not quite come up to scratch at Chepstow last month and his rider opted to pull him up as he was not happy with his mount.
Clearly it was nothing too serious that day and Poetic Rhythm should be wiser for the outing here.
Copain De Classe is the pick in the feature bet365 Handicap Chase - the second of of two back-to-back Listed races. He impressed with a 10-length victory at Kempton on his reappearance, with a wind surgery over the summer months obviously having the desired effect.
He has been hiked in the handicap subsequently, but looks a runner with plenty of improvement still to come. The stars are beginning to appear in Ireland too, and none more so of course than Samcro in Down Royal's WKD Hurdle.
The Champion Hurdle favourite is impossible to oppose on his seasonal return in the Grade Two event, and his trainer Gordon Elliott can be expected to dominate elsewhere on the card.
His Delta Work is one of the brightest chasing prospects in the country after his exploits at Cheltenham and Punchestown over hurdles last spring. The five-year-old is out to prove the point in the Porter & Co. Beginners Chase.
Sporting Life tips:
DOWN ROYAL: 12.40 First Approach, 1.10 Sancta Simona, 1.45 Samcro, 2.20 Sir Ector, 2.55 Delta Work, 3.30 Penny Jane, 4.05 Only Whispers.
DUNDALK: 5.30 Loz, 6.00 Peshkova, 6.30 Atlas, 7.00 First Response, 7.30 La Novia, 8.00 Amazing One, 8.30 Sors, 9.00 Every Chance.
KEMPTON: 5.45 Mr Potter, 6.15 Milly Monroe, 6.45 Praxedis, 7.15 Cuillin, 7.45 Castlelyons, 8.15 Perfect Lady, 8.45 The Lacemaker, 9.15 Soar Above.
NEWMARKET: 12.30 Fightwithme, 1.05 Danzan, 1.40 LADY ARIA (NAP), 2.15 Kasbaan, 2.50 Here's Alice, 3.25 War Brigade, 4.00 Sawwaah.
UTTOXETER: 12.55 Wenceslaus, 1.30 Queen's Magic, 2.05 Mystical Clouds, 2.40 Chesterfield, 3.15 Frozen Flame, 3.50 Silent Steps, 4.20 Jimmi Chew.
WETHERBY: 1.20 Ballyhome, 1.55 Poetic Rhythm, 2.30 Chief Justice, 3.05 Copain De Classe, 3.40 Dino Velvet, 4.10 Denmead.
DOUBLE: Kasbaan and Lady Aria.
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