London – Mystique Moon should step up on his recent return to action by winning the Play Starburst Slot At sunbets.co.uk/vegas Handicap at Lingfield on Friday.
Charlie Appleby’s runner looked full of potential when winning two of his three starts during the early part of last year, building on his maiden win in January to win on his handicap bow the following month.
The four-year-old was then out of action until April, when he found only subsequent Listed and Group 3 winner Arabian Hope too good, so it was understandable he was sent off favourite on his return at Lingfield.
He had to settle for fourth that day, but stayed on well enough to suggest he should be sharper for the outing and will perhaps find this 1400m more to his liking.
Star Story can finally get her head in front in the opening Betway Handicap.
The four-year-old was nothing if not consistent for Ralph Beckett last year, placing on each of her five outings without actually getting that all-important victory.
It could be argued Star Story has been somewhat hampered by her keen-going nature but she also did not enjoy the best of passages at the finish last time, so it might pay to keep the faith in what appears an average event.
Jallota is an interesting contender as he tries his his hand at the all-weather game in the Sun Bets Conditions Stakes at Newcastle.
Charlie Hills’ runner turned in a mixed bag of efforts in Listed and Pattern company last year but he finally got his head in front when winning in some style at Redcar in October.
A couple of subsequent runs, most recently in a Newmarket Listed heat in November, failed to yield further joy but Jallota arrives here with a mark of 110 and the conditions of the race give him a potentially handy little pull in the weights.
His two previous all-weather efforts came in Dubai a couple of years back, so his apparent lack of success on that front is not really a concern.
The Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle takes centre stage at Huntingdon and Gumball is fancied to rediscover the winning trail.
The Philip Hobbs-trained four-year-old looked every inch a top-class juvenile in the making after winning his first two starts in Britain at Stratford and Chepstow, but was brushed aside by Apple’s Shakira at Cheltenham in November.
While there was no disgrace in that effort, with the winner now clear favourite for the Triumph Hurdle, the suspicion was Gumball was not at his best in the ultra-testing ground and he deserves a chance to show his true colours on a course where conditions are frequently less demanding than elsewhere.
Main Fact bolted up on his latest visit to Sedgefield and must have every chance of following up on his return to the County Durham circuit for the Wills Property Services Handicap Hurdle.
Dianne Sayer initially campaigned the five-year-old on the Flat after buying him from France for the relatively modest fee of 18,000 guineas, but three handicap outings last year were uninspiring.
His first few starts over hurdles were not much of an improvement, but his third-placed finish back on the level at Ayr in October was a big step in the right direction and that set him up perfectly for his return to the jumping game here in November.
Having been backed at big odds, Main Fact travelled strongly on his way to a facile success and now he has hit form a 4kg hike might not be enough to stop him adding to his tally.
Quick Pick won over the course and distance on Boxing Day and can defy a penalty in the Betfred Novices’ Hurdle.
The son of Vinnie Roe was not scoring out of turn after placing on three of his previous four starts and there was a lot to like about the way he picked up in the straight to win going away.
Jennie Candlish’s charge clearly handles the track and soft ground and remains open to further improvement. – Press Association