With Sire De Grugy holding his ground, it means that Pearls Legend is 6lb out of the weights here, which is clearly not ideal. But he won this race two years ago, comes here after a good second at Ludlow last time and the ground should be okay for him. And even though he is out of the handicap, he has run well off these kind of marks in the past, so there are reasons to be hopeful.
We also had Poetic Rhythm in here at the five-day stage but unfortunately he had a bit of problem with colic at the start of the week. Touch wood, he is on the mend now and Global Stage isn’t a bad substitute, and he doesn’t carry a penalty, either. He won his point and showed bags of promise in his bumper last season, before we pitched him in at the deep end in the Tolworth on his hurdling debut. He ran a great race there but we backed him up quickly after that big effort in heavy ground and his form tapered off. He had a nice confidence-booster when winning at Ayr in October and has had a nice break since, and we hope that he can kick on again now and prove his true ability. I think the 3m trip will suit, and the ground won’t be a problem. In fact, he will love it, and he was in really good form when I rode him on Monday.
I’d like to think that she has an excellent chance at these weights. We saw what a good bumper mare she was when just touched off by Dame Rose at Aintree last season and I think she has shaped with plenty of promise in both her starts this season, first at Chepstow and then when chasing home Sunshade at Ludlow. The winner is unbeaten and followed up in style next time, so I think we are handicapped to go well off a mark of 118 here. I think she should see out the trip in the ground okay, as she is crying out for the step up in distance, in my opinion. The ground is a slight question mark, as she didn’t enjoy it at Sandown last season, but she is a lot stronger now.
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