VIVE LA DIFFERENCE (4.35), a previous Hamilton winner from subsequent scorers Rockwood and Jacob Black, remains well enough handicapped for me to believe he can score again in the mile handicap.
Tim Easterby could hardly have his string in better order and Vive La Difference arrives here on the back of a fine effort at Beverley when just denied by El Principe. Fourth horse Waarif is 3lb better off but Vive La Difference can confirm placings.
Mark Johnston won this event last year with classy Titi Makfi and relies on another three-year-old, Austin Powers. The gelding’s third to Lord Vetinari at Goodwood reads well, while Moltoir looked an improved horse for the fitting of a visor when winning at Beverley 11 days ago and should again master runner-up Global Exceed.
With trailblazer Amy Blair in the line-up there should be plenty of pace, with Vive La Difference poised to pounce late.
There are some serial losers in the 1m 1f handicap but MY BROTHER MIKE (5.10) poked his head in front at Newcastle last September, so he at least knows how to win.
Kevin Frost sends the four-year-old north on the back of an eye-catching sixth to Berlusca in a better race at Haydock 12 days ago. My Brother Mike hit the front over a furlong out before tying up and will appreciate this shorter distance. A visor is fitted for the first time. John Caesar has the ability to take a hand if on a going day.
GLOBAL ART (3.55) is another southern raider holding excellent prospects. Ed Dunlop equips him with blinkers after his third to Claire Underwood and Ad Libitum at Ripon and that form looks good on the back of Ad Libitum’s subsequent exploits.
Mystical Mac was my selection when just run out of it at Carlisle and a 5lb rise for that defeat is a bit hard to take. Cheek-pieces are on today. Bowler Hat ran quite well at Nottingham and is the other one to consider.
SNOWDON (3.20) won with such authority at Yarmouth that an 8lb rise is unlikely to prevent a repeat performance if the ground remains slick. She fairly bounded clear on her handicap debut and may have too much firepower for Scottish duo Party Fears Too and Song Of Summer. Jim Goldie’s Party Fears Too takes a drop in class and this longer trip may eke out some improvement. Dontgiveuponbob has proved a bit disappointing for Richard Fahey but is no forlorn hope.
Far-travelled COMPETITION (5.45) represents Dr Richard Newland, with Jane Elliott coming for this one ride in the apprentices’ handicap. The six-year-old lost out on the nod to Sexy Secret at Yarmouth last week and gets the verdict over Royal Cosmic.