Adamant was eye-catching at Newbury last time and should benefit from the step up in trip and with improvement to come has to be respected @ 7/2, though experience of Newmarket would have made him a rock solid favourite and that is the nagging doubt. Duke Of Bronte improved throughout last year, has some top handicap form at this distance and showed his well being when winning over an inadequate ten furlongs at Chelmsford first time out. In similar fashion The Grand Visir improved last year only finding the class and trip too much at that stage of his career. He can go well @ 8/1 as can UAE Prince though he can be inconsistent and has yet to prove he truly stays a mile and a half. The Godolphin pair of Wolf Country and Celestial Spheres come into calculations, as does Reshoun and Maori Bob while Eddystone Rock could go well @ 33/1.
Bengali Boys sets the standard on his impressive win at Newbury last season and built on his seasonal debut with a good performance at Newcastle, the six furlongs just stretching him. He is the one to beat but his best effort came with cut in the ground and with the warm weather this weekend, there is a slight doubt about drying ground. Savalas has won both his starts this year in good style and looks the chief threat to Bengali Boys @ 9/2 presuming he lasts out this stiffer five furlongs as he seems to prefer a sharper track. Lake Volta drops back to the minimum trip and in typical Mark Johnston style, should give everything @ 4/1 while Jonboy could go well @ 12/1, he is open to improvement and the course will suit having won at Pontefract last time.
This looks a very good opportunity for group one winning Wuheida despite her penalty and with Charlie Appleby in such good form, should take the beating @ 4/5. It is a wide open affair for the minors, Tisbutadream will likely attempt to make all and could cling on for a place @ 14/1 while improving Elegant Pose will enjoy the better ground @ 7/1. French raider Golden Legend shapes as though further than this will suit and she has to prove herself on the ground though French runners have won two of the last four renewals. Wilamina goes well fresh and is not without a place chance @ 25/1 as is Indian Blessing if she can reproduce her run at Deauville last November on turf.
A very competitive renewal of this handicap with Kensington Star looking well treated @ 8/1 and bids to go one better having been narrowly denied last year by Corton Lad. The worry with Kensington Star is that this stiff mile and half is just on the short side for him but with a decent size field, there should be good pace to run down. Rossa Ryan takes five pounds off the improving Archippos who should go well @ 6/1 and the evergreen eight year old Starplex, who defeated a number of these at Thirsk also has to go onto the shortlist @ 5/1. Bolder Bob was progressive last year but would not want the ground to dry out while Tor and Euro Nightmare are not without a chance at double figure prices.
A wide open handicap where a case can be made for nearly every runner. Last year’s winner Mr Lupton loves a big field handicap and won this off three pounds higher in 2017, he will surely be thereabouts @ 11/2. A number of course and distance winners lurk with Magical Memory and Gifted Master dropping in grade and Aelous, Eastern Impact, Rebel Surge and Ekhtiyaar all reopposing after running well here in April. Captain Colby lurks on a dangerous mark if Paul Midgley can work his magic while Medicine Jack, Victory Angel, Ice Lord, Scorching Heat and Baron Bolt are all capable of winning this.
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Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Duke Of Bronte – 1.50 Newmarket – 1pt win @ 8/1
Duke Of Bronte improved throughout last season culminating in a win at Ascot in a heritage handicap, a slightly unlucky third in the Old Rowley Cup before splitting the smart pair of Time To Study and Royal Line at Newbury. He looks the type to be an even better four year old and could go on to be involved in group races in time. If in the care of a more ‘fashionable’ trainer he would be shorter than his current price so the 8/1 is worth taking.