Irish import Academy Blues has only his second start for David Nicholls and has to be respected but he has yet to confirm that he handles ground as soft as this and preference is for another that has come from Ireland in SPAVENTO, who gets the verdict from Nufoudh. Tracy Waggott's gelding was a winner on good to soft ground in a Musselburgh handicap last term and should be alright under the even more testing ground today but he may be a shade high in the weights for his reappearance and looks best watched. Gap Princess came good when landing a handicap at Wolverhampton when last seen in December but is 4lbs higher now back on turf, while Declan Carroll's Hits Only Jude has been in good form on the Fibresand this winter and is attractively weighted back on turf but he is better on the artificial surfaces. Anything saddled by Richard Fahey has to be considered these days and his runner here, Whatyouwoodwishfor, is no exception having also been running well on the Fibresand of late but he does not seem to be so well treated back on turf and a better bet looks to be Spavento. The daughter of Verglas makes her debut for Eric Alston today having shown some decent form without winning for William Durkan in Ireland, including on testing ground, and she can open her account for new connections at the first time of asking.
Istiqdaam 10-1 (8-2) Pulled hard, pressed leader, ridden 2f out, no extra and lost 2 places towards finish, 4th of 8, 2 1/4l behind Gallantry (8-6) at Kempton 1m hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Feb.
Gap Princess (IRE) 11-2 (9-3) Held up in touch, led over 1f out, soon ridden, ran on, won at Wolverhampton 6f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Dec beating Espy (8-12) by nk, 10 ran.
Academy Blues (USA) 15-2 (9-4) In touch, headway to lead 2f out, ridden over 1f out, ran on well, won at Redcar 7f hcp 0-70 (5) sft beating Toby Tyler (8-12) by 1 1/4l, 15 ran.
Classic Descent 22-1 (9-4) Started very slowly, soon outpaced, always behind, 6th of 7, 17l behind Jonnie Skull (8-8) at Southwell 7f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs in Mar.
Spavento (IRE) 7-1 (8-12) Short of room, clipped heels and slipped up early, in a race won by Patrickswell (8-0) at Roscommon 7f hcp 50-85 gf in Sep, 15 ran.
Whatyouwoodwishfor (USA) 5-2fav (8-11) Led, headed over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 4th of 7, 5l behind Jonnie Skull (8-8) at Southwell 7f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs in Mar.
Chief Red Cloud (USA) 11-4fav (8-13) Chased leaders, pushed along on outside over 2f out, soon weakened, 10th of 12, 6l behind Peper Harow (9-4) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp (0-65) (6) pol in Oct.
Peter's Gift (IRE) 9-1 (8-11) Chased leader 1f, prominent, ridden and not quicken over 1f out, no danger after, 5th of 9, 4l behind Fol Liam (8-2) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Mar.
Hits Only Jude (IRE) 5-1 (8-5) Pushed along to soon lead, ridden and headed over 1f out, stayed on final furlong, 3rd of 6, 1 1/2l behind Onceaponatime (8-8) at Southwell 6f hcp 0-85 (4) fbs in Mar.
Nufoudh (IRE) 10-3fav (8-12) Led, clear over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, kept on until headed, no extra near finish, 2nd of 13, 1/2l behind La Gifted (9-1) at Catterick 7f hcp 0-60 (6) gf in Sep.