A thoroughly competitive renewal of this prestigious race on the first day of the UK flat turf season. The ground is heavy so expect testing conditions, where runners will need to stay the trip well. MONTASSIB appears the William Haggas second string on jockey bookings but holds sound each-way credentials. The chestnut Exceed And Excel gelding has shown solid form in strong handicaps thus far, including a second behind Wanees on final effort last term, and is weighted go reverse form here.
BARADAR boasts excellent course form, finishing third in the Grade 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy and scoring with plenty in hand on stable debut in handicap company over 7f here in November. A 4lb rise in the weights seems fair and there could be more to come from this unexposed five-year-old. Trainer, George Boughey, arrives in good form, which is a positive sign, too.
A chance is taken on CRAFTER bouncing back to top form after four poor all-weather runs. He could be a different proposition, switched onto grass, as he was a promising turf performer in France, boasting a victory on a testing surface at Compiegne. The addition of the excellent apprentice, Billy Loughnane, boosts his claims, in what appears a moderate affair.
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