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Preview 10 July 2008

4:55 Newmarket HIGHLAND MERIDIAN GARDENS HANDICAP (CLASS 3) (3yo+,0-95) Winner 9,714.00 5f SOFT

Prior Warning - not sure what this son of Barathea Ideal trip is as he is dropped to eh shortest trip of his short UK career so far and is also dropped down from contesting top handicaps as they choose against a tilt over seven again in the Bunbury cup and even though the tough conditions underfoot should suit this horse, he looks to have a tough enough task under top weight in this handicap today and no surprise to see him as one of the rank outsiders in this.

Bertoliver - Made all to win at the Chester cup meeting and that track appeared to play to his strength that day with his style of running and despite a fair effort under quick conditions at York after, he has since been found wanting and looks plenty high enough in the weights for this run on conditions that should be more then plenty soft enough underfoot and has nothing in hand on this drop down in class with the Chester form potentially short of top class form.

Ebraam - Finished behind Bertoliver at Chester and has solid claims today of reversing that form with the conditions more in his favour then that rival as I felt he is capable of better then he showed that day. The run prior to that on ground with some ease in was by far his best effort so far this season as he ran into a decent rival in Utmost Respect in a conditions race and wasn't disgraced. The return to five furlongs on this stiffer track with cut in the ground should see him run a decent race even though at the weights he is likely to find one or two to good today.

Sir Edwin Landseer - Has been running in Dubai and makes a return to UK turf today for the first time since summer 2006 and is sure to need a couple of runs to get up to speed on this summer campaign and the market should tell us all we need to know on this horse.

The Jobber - not been in the best of form of late and hard to see him returning to his best here today from this current mark and with a exposed profile needs to drop down in the weights before he is likely to strike again. The best effort so far this season looks to be his run at Goodwood a track he often seems to run well at, that day he was beaten by Elharmi on quick ground and even though the winner that day won kindly enough and has conditions maybe not as much in favour, it looks likely that he will confirm the form here today.

Northern Empire - Yet to find the same form on the Turf as he has achieved on the all weather and the ease in the ground isn't likely to suit enough for him to return to his best performances that would see him going close in this class of this weight. The run at York where he is closely matched with Bertoliver and Special Day doesn't read to well, but that is the best piece of form on offer that he has achieved on turf this season and should reverse the form with those two rivals as he continue to drop and look very well handicapped and cant be far of winning on turf when returning to more favourable conditions underfoot.

Sundae - Wasn't totally knocked about at Sandown at the weekend where he was one paced under a hand and heels ride by today's pilot and is interesting that he is turned out so quickly for a yard that horses seem to be coming in to a rich vein of form. The easier conditions underfoot should be ideal for this horse and based on the Doncaster run where he ran more to his merit in a race that was ran at a strong clip with the potentially Group class he done well to finish 4L behind that horse under a high weight and with the conditions more to his liking a lower weight and a drop back to five furlongs likely to suit on a track that he has won at he is very much of interest here with the silver cup form stacking up well and that Doncaster race throwing up winners and placed horses.

Canadian Danehill - Seems to have paid for the achievements of last seasons and it appears the heavy campaign has started to catch up with this horse that is developing a regressive profile. Starting to come back to some sort of form as he showed at Beverley with a few glimpses of a return to form. That was the best performance he has put up for some time, however it doesn't look the strongest piece of form and the speed figure he took from that race suggest that he is below this level on turf despite being weighted to run with justice now the handicapper has taken some ease on him and may struggle under the conditions today to reverse the form with lord of the reins who finished in front.

Elharmi - Winner at Goodwood 3 runs back and should confirm form with the Jobber on that running and this listed winner as a 2yo is still potentially well handicapped despite being raised back up the weights for that win, however he didn't entirely train on from 2 to 3 and he looks like a weak sprinting type who could struggle to pick up races when the ground is on the easy side as he seems to be at his best when let loose on quick ground and even though he should confirm the form of that Goodwood run, the ground has gone against him and he is held by others in this handicap.

Northern Dare - has returned in good form this season and the performance at the Curragh is one of the strongest any of these runners have put up in the last 12 months and could add to the Dandy Nichols sprint war chest that has been built up by the trainer landing these sort of handicaps. The easy ground shouldn't be a problem and the course is ideal for this horse who showed great pace last season over his 5F before getting headed and battling back to finish a close up 3rd to Kings Apostle who went well in the Wokingham. No surprise to see him favourite with conditions in his favour and there is more to come from this sprinter I feel.

Luscivious - Loves ground with cut in and has it ideal under foot today with two good runs already on soft ground and this Southwell fibre sand lover could well run his biggest race to date on turf with plenty of juice in the ground now. However on what he has achieved to date he does look handicapped up to his best on turf and even though lightly weighted enough to do himself justice under the conditions, he may not be able to perform as well as he did at Southwell earlier in the season which is his best form to date this season.

Special Day - has been frustrating so far this season and there is a York sprint handicap in this horse when he gets ideal conditions most probably at this level and is starting to look handicapped to do well in this sphere. The ground however today looks plenty soft enough for his chances and Barry hills will most probably use this race to get him revaluated by the handicapper before striking of his new weight. Could struggle to confirm form with Northern Empire here.

Zowington - Overcame a tardy start to stamp his class on a handicap on firm ground at Lingfield and this talented horse could well be on his way back to the form he showed when running Stanley Goodspeed close at Haydock as a 4yo and underlines what a strong hand the Wall yard has in this race with that Lingfield effort standing him in good stead as he wont mind the ease in the ground. The time recorded at lingfield was a good one and made up for the lack of class in that race. Still well handicapped even though he has a regressive profile and should be involved if getting the run of the race.

Kay Two - Hasn't been in the best of form lately and the performance put up at Chester recently suggested that he wasn't about to strike again on turf, however his finishing position last season at Wolverhampton to Chief editor says he still retains his ability and with the prep run out of the way he could bounce back to form he showed last season as he is well handicapped near the foot of the weights in this handicap and with the ground in his favour he has a chance here with this track likely to suit more then Wolverhampton if you was to base his chances on that run.

Fantasy Explorer - has been knocking on the door without actually getting in the money and the Haydock run at this level gives him some claims as he has become well handicapped in the weights if you take the best of his form. Still quite unexposed he could well show improvement on this softer surface as I felt he got a little outpaced at Haydock before staying on. The stiffer track should suit and the ground may just help him close the gap on those that he has been chasing home. Should confirm the York form with both Special Day & Elharmi and be interesting to see if he can reverse the form with lord of the rains here today.

Lord of the Reins - Best judged on the York form that seems to stand up more as a guide to this race for this horse as the Beverley form didn't shape to me as a strong race on the clock or how it panned out and the York run behind Sohraab that has been franked b y the 2nd in that Beverley race is not without chance in this handicap with his liking for soft ground in the past. Mainly thought of as a all weather horse he has shown so far that he does handle turf to a decent level as well and with a low weight in this race and with the York form at this level standing up to the test he could well bounce back to some form after that disappointing run last time.

Digital - has been picking up prize money on the lower circuit and takes a step back up in class to try and pick up a bigger prize for Mick Channon who knows this horse in side out, the slow ground today will no doubt suit this horse and the run at Sailsbury when 3rd to Misaro under 9 stone 6lbs was a fairly decent piece of form despite being at a lower level then he runs at today. Bottom weight will no doubt help this horse whose recent form is genuinely below class 3 handicap level, but he has the ability and with conditions suiting and a low weight, a strong enough gallop will enable him to work his way into the race under Stuart Hitchcott.

Verdict - Northern Dare ran a blinder at this meeting 12 months ago and can go one better this time around in this all age handicap, the run in Ireland was impressive and there is no doubt he has more to offer with cut in the ground for sprint king Dandy Nichols who could have had plenty of runners in this race. He is taken to justify favouritism with the wall pair the most feared in this handicap.

Advised bet - Northern Dare 4 pts win @ 11/4 (BF3's)

Well Chief