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‪13:45 Ayr‬ The form of David Pipe this season is best summed up as being disappointing, every time you feel his yard are running into form he seemingly drops right out of it again, represented by Vaniteux here you would be hard pushed to expect a victory but the horse has serious form at this level. Well fancied for the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival his eventual performance was below par, the ground would have been soft enough that day however and he is a course and distance winner here, down to his lowest mark in a while you suspect he ought to go close today and the drying ground is a major positive. Duke Of Navan battled on gamely to win at Doncaster last time and looks a big player once more today, his yard have been amongst the winners and his form gives him every chance. Dandridge has had the wind op and is another key player however, the vote is handed to Vaniteux who looks to have every chance of following up last seasons win in this. ‪Vaniteux (WIN)‬

‪14:00 Newbury‬ Defoe had a fruitful campaign last season and looks good enough to regain the winning thread today, a winner at the course and with no real going concerns it would be a surprise if he failed to show up nicely and as such, he is taken to go in. Call To Mind is another who showed up well last term and his yard have been amongst the winners, his form is below that of the favourite but he looks the chief danger. Danehill Kodiac faces no easy task conceding weight all round though he has it for a reason and looks best of the rest. ‪Defoe (WIN)‬

‪14:20 Ayr‬ Braqueur D’Or ran a mighty race when 4th in the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury and has been given a break since being beaten by Keeper Hill at Doncaster, Paul Nicholls charge really ought to be going close here and is taken to at least place given his form. Keeper Hill himself has every chance though he has fallen the last twice and plenty high enough in the weights anyway, he could go well but them falls require a leap of faith. Born Survivor is an interesting outsider and the likes of Dingo Dollar and Barney Dwan warrant consideration in a wide open looking heat. ‪Braqueur D’Or (E/W)‬

‪14:35 Newbury‬ Tajaanus won three times last season with two coming in pattern company, reportedly she hasnt grown much during the off season so perhaps she will be best caught early whilst the rest are still filling out. Gavonta always looked likely to do better in time despite winning her first two races, placed in better company after you suspect she is the one to take out though Roger Charlton runers tend to improve significantly from their first runs. Hikmaa is another worthy of consideation and Dance Diva could go well for a stable firing though perhaps Tajaanus can strike given the reports of her are rather off putting for later in the season. ‪Tajaanus (WIN)‬

‪14:55 Ayr‬ Chesterfield won this last term and arrives here on the back of a sound effort when fourth in the County hurdle, 2lbs better off this season and a type likelier than the rest to appreciate the drying ground he is taken to follow up, failing that he ought to be good enough for a place so he gets the nod. Verdana Blue is another who will appreciate the better ground and she has always looked likely to land a big pot off this sort of mark, trained by Henderson and with James Bowen having a 3lbs claim you have to expect a massive run. Beyond The Clouds has a fair amount to find on the book but he is as exciting a challenger as any and the likes of Flying Tiger, Charli Parcs and Ch’Tibello make this looks a hot race. ‪Chesterfield (E/W)‬

‪15:10 Newbury‬ Expert Eye finished stone last in the Dewhurst having gone off the odds on favourite for it on the back of two massively impressive efforts prior, whatever went wrong that day is open to debate though he has plenty of question marks to answer now. Hey Gaman was smart at two and looks the likely winner should the favourite fail to fire once more, his 2nd in the Champagne Stakes was a serious effort and he is the potential dark horse at 3. Connect and Raid are likable types who promise to be decent three year olds, the vote however is given to Expert Eye whom despite coming from a cold stable already showed his class prior to the flop. ‪Expert Eye (WIN)‬

‪15:30 Ayr‬ Mia’s Storm looked in bother when coming down at Kempton last time but she had looked highly progressive before that and she should bounce back today, at home on the ground and given a break since that mishap she can make this long journey pay off. Bigmartre is a lovely type who has probably just bumped into a few good ones the last twice, this trip asks a question of his stamina but he would go close if staying and is worth considering. Adrien Du Pont is consistent and has the first time hood, some may feel he would be a fairly disappointing winner though you wouldn’t want to dismiss a Nicholls horse out of hand. ‪Mia’s Storm (WIN)‬

‪15:45 Newbury  ‬ A brutal handicap to end the televised Newbury card and two hopeful punts will be taken by us as a result. Tony Curtis finished 4th in the Bunbury Cup and 2nd when last seen at Goodwood, a Listed level winner at two he has already shown plenty to be considered here and Moore gets the leg up, he is taken to hit the frame and he is drawn nicely enough should the break into two. Repercussion showed up nicely in the Lincoln and might have gone closer but for trouble in the run, still unexposed you have to hope he has more to offer and he too receives a vote of sorts to place. Afaak and Tadqeer are both owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, both are lightly raced and both have serious claims, the problem is seperating their chances. Gilgamesh often refuses to settle and this trip is a concern on that score, despite this he improved at a fair rate of knts last term and is another key player here. Gabrial, Born To Be Alive and Lord Of The Rock are regular players in these events and warrant a mention though anything could land this in reality. ‪Tony Curtis (E/W)‬ ‪Repercussion (E/W)‬

‪16:05 Ayr ‬ A typically rough renewal see’s Vicente attempting to win his third successive Scottish National on the bounce, 4lbs higher than last year it wont be easy though given his record he is feared above anything and could prove good enough. Beware The Bear has always looked a stayer for me and his win in the Rehearsal at Newcastle screamed at extreme distances, still unexposed the big worry for him would be traffic (Hampered two starts back) his overall form needs improving but he will act on the ground and will hopefully run on when most have cried enough. The Young Master is becoming frustrating to follow, he seems to retain plenty of ability however and a big run ought to be on the cards given his mark. Doing Fine, Fagan and Glencairn View make some appeal but the vote is handed to Beware The Bear ‪Beware The Bear (WIN) – NAP‬

written by Chris Connolly


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