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Duke of Edinburgh preview

It wouldn't be a feature meeting without a decent handicap thrown in, and there's only one man to call on in those circumstances, Dan Kelly - @muffinmannhc

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5:00 Ascot SAT 23 JUN 2012 Duke of Edinburgh Handicap

Another fiendish handicap to look over, but with the favourite 13lbs higher and in a far better race this time around, I think it may pay to look away from the market leaders in a race that has had double figure payouts over the last three years.

Mark Johnston has already struck in handicaps this week with Fennell Bay, and I feel he has a good chance this time around with Eternal Heart. Recent form doesn't look too inspiring, however I have been waiting to see him return to 1m4f since his Chester Cup run. 4 time winner on turf, 3 of those wins have came over this trip, recent one being a Conditions Stakes win over King Of Wands, but he also has an Edinburgh Cup to his name, where likes of Namibian, Mulaqen and this years Colour Vision were behind him. Admittedly Musselburgh does favour those up with the pace, but in a big field handicap that could be beneficial here too, as we saw in King George V Handicap, very easy to find trouble in a 16+ runner race at Ascot. Third in last years Queen's Vase, course won't be an issue and at 20s Generally he's a bigger than expected price.

Stand To Reason has been racing on Soft ground through the "Summer" so far, and looked to have been handling it better than most with a win, 2nd and 4th to his name this season. Came away readily to win a Newbury Handicap on seasonal debut, it was his effort in defeat at the hands of Resurge which is arguably best form to date, and puts him in with a great shout here. Resurge loves the turning tracks and easy ground, and when he gets both of these circumstances with a falling handicap mark, he's very hard to beat, Stand To Reason did everything but beat him. Still looking the type to improve, he was 4th in a muddling race back at Chester on last run. Coltish beforehand, he threw his chance away by being keen in a very slowly run affair which saw Licence To Till make all. Confirmed on the ground, and with the step up to 12f more than capable of bringing about further improvement, he has to be on your shortlist.

Finally I got back to my trusty Monsun line with the last pick, Midsummer Sun. Looked to be a handicapper going places when accounting for Ithoughtitwasover at Lingfield by 2 lengths (giving him 3lbs, in receipt of 4lbs today) it is a surprise he hasn't progressed since then, but there has been mitigating circumstances. I was at Ripon when he was beaten out of sight by Dawn Twister (has a great chance in Queen Alexandra), but everything went wrong for him, he reared at the start, and in my opinion shouldn't have ran, but was allowed to take chance and ran no sort of race. Newmarket last time out he looked the likely winner 2 out but was found out late on when meeting rising ground. Given a break, back over this 12f trip and he could cap off a fine week for Sir Henry Cecil.

0.5pt Win Eternal Heart @ 20s Generally
0.5pt Win Stand To Reason @ 14s Generally / 16s in places
0.5pt Win Midsummer Sun @ 16s Generally

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