Following horses over a cliff that are constantly unlucky is a strategy not worth recommending, but in the case of FINAL (NAP) (best price 9-4)
, Mark Johnston’s charge simply has to be given the benefit of the doubt on the evidence of his recent exploits. Since breaking his duck at the second time of asking on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last February, the son of Arabian Gleam has cut a figure of total frustration, and those exasperations have been polarised by his last two performances. His unwillingness to engage his mind in the early stages proved his undoing at Thirsk two starts back when he was a fast-finishing fourth behind Get Knotted, and the same fate awaited him over today’s track on his most recent outing as he once again got going far too late to have any meaningful impact on the result. That said, he was taken down a blind alley in the latter stages by Joe Fanning just as he was building up a head of steam, so in the case for the defence, there’s a fair argument to suggest he was a shade unfortunate. The one thing that can be said for sure in summarising his chance this afternoon is that he looks for all the world to be crying out for a step up in trip and providing he can keep tabs with the front-running Mysterial in the early part of the race, hopefully that untapped stamina can kick in when in matters in the closing stages.
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