SUGAR COATING has filled second place in both of her starts to date and this is an ideal opportunity for the daughter of Dutch Art to earn her first victory. Columbia Kid is the pick of the rest with form but the main threat to the selection may prove to be Fairy Falcon. The daughter of Sepoy is a half-sister to high-class sprinters Tangerine Trees and Alpha Delphini, and connections had to part with 190,000gns to secure her as a yearling.
Plenty of these arrive here with valid claims but the preference is for GONE WITH THE WIND, who arrives here on the back of an encouraging effort at Musselburgh a few weeks ago. A 1lb drop in the ratings for that effort may be generous and his last turf win came over this course and distance. Thornaby Nash has to be respected given his recent victory, while Pepys and Rioja Day complete the shortlist.
REBEL STATE ran well to finish second to an in-form rival on his seasonal return a few weeks ago and and he can be supported to go one better this afternoon. Harbour Patrol is a recent winner who should be in the mix once again this afternoon. Others to consider in an open event are Adventureman, Colour Contrast and Palindrome.
There was just half a length splitting Smugglers Creek and Donnelly's Rainbow when second and third respectively in a class 5 handicap at Musselburgh and that pair should both run well again, but a chance is taken on the Irish raider DREAM SLEEP. The Rip Van Winkle filly was far from disgraced when eighth of 30 on her comeback run in a fiercely competitive handicap at the Curragh and her handler knows what it takes to win here, boasting a course record of three from 10 over the last five years.
It might pay to side with SULTAN BAYBARS in what looks a tricky puzzle for punters to solve. Not only has Daniel Tudhope chosen him over ultra-consistent stablemate Hajjam, but a 2lb drop for finishing fourth in a similarly competitive handicap at Chester looks more than fair. Masham Star faces his easiest assignment for some time and seems sure to run well, while six-time course winner Jay Kay is worth a market check at the very least on his seasonal reappearance.
Afandem has plenty of back class but he hasn't built on his near miss at Wolverhampton in February quite as hoped, including on turf at Yarmouth last time, so the vote instead goes to GOLDEN STEPS, who has dropped 15lb in the ratings since November and hinted a form revival was imminent when fifth over 7f at Newcastle last time. Any money for Irish raider Plough Boy, who has been consistent on the all-weather this year, would also be notable.
Druid's Diamond has been knocking hard on the door over 1m4f on recent outings and should be thereabouts once more, though narrow preference is for Irish raider JOHN HONEYMAN, who was narrowly touched off over a similar trip at Dundalk last time out and has dropped to a workable mark at present. C&D winner Haymarket is 1lb lower than his last winning mark and could feasibly play a supporting role.
Irish raider NORTHERN SKY was thwarted by a neck over 1m4f at Tipperary earlier in the month but is expected to build on that effort and gain compensation now granted this stiffer test. Recent Newcastle second Archibelle drops back from 2m and should be keeping on well late in the day. Others to consider are recent 1m6f Wetherby third Calliope and Carthage, the latter of whom is having his second run for Mick Appleby.
SUGAR COATING looked a work-in-progress mentally when failing to justify favouritism in a brace of AW maidens over the winter, but she's in the right hands and this isn't a deep race. Columbia Kid finished third in a minor race on this card last year and is a player on that run, with Fairy Falcon and Snow Diamond perhaps the pick of the newcomers.
There's still an air of untapped potential around PEPYS at this sort of level, so he could be then answer back on turf. Thornaby Nash won a big-field handicap at Nottingham 10 days ago and is feared, while Sooqaan is well-in on his AW form of late.
REBEL STATE's strike rate is a slight concern (1-26), but he was unlucky to bump into an even better-treated rival on his return at Musselburgh, and seems sure to make another bold bid with that under his belt. Adventureman can figure again, with Warrior's Spirit another to consider dropping into a 0-60 fitted with first-time cheeckpieces.
SMUGGLERS CREEK was caught only by an improver at Musselburgh, and he could yet take off for this yard (remains relatively lightly raced). Irish raider Dream Sleep should strip fitter for her recent return, while veteran Talent Scout has been given a chance by the handicapper.
MASHAM STAR is yet to get going this term, but he's been competing in some high-end handicaps, namely the Victoria Cup last time, and is worth another chance to bounce back. Sultan Baybars and Zebulon both arrive on the back of fair efforts and are feared.
RED PIKE hasn't won for a long time, but he's handicapped to strike if anywhere near his best. He earns a tentative vote, with Plough Boy and Saryshagann other interesting runners.
A chance is taken on LADY MAGDALA, who once again suggested there's a race in her at Limerick last month. John Honeyman and Royal Cosmic head up the dangers.
CALLIOPE stepped up on her reappearance when third at Wetherby earlier this month, and a reproduction of that form may well be good enough here. Carthage is sure to have his supporters with top amateur rider Serena Brotherton on board, while Northern Sky is knocking on the door and remains one to be interested in from this sort of mark.