JACKS LAST HOPE (NAP) (best price 10-3) has improved immeasurably since he’s been fitted with a visor and even though he’s racing off a 19lb higher mark than when scoring at Perth three starts ago, there may be some mileage still left in Chris Grant’s charge off his new perch. Although beaten fair and square by Rosseti at Stratford on his next outing, in hindsight he faced a difficult task trying to give weight away to a horse that made it four on the bounce with another win at the Midland venue next time. Last time out in a Class 2 affair at Perth, the son of King’s Theatre travelled noticeably well until just run out of the argument by the progressive Carinena in the latter stages, but with the pair pulling clear of a useful field for the time of year – including Desoto County and Tea In Transvaal – the form looks rock-solid. Having triumphed on his only visit to today’s track back in 2014, his association with the Durham venue can count for a lot and with plenty of pace signed-on courtesy of three confirmed front runners in the line-up, the race should set up perfectly for this strong-travelling seven-year-old.
DARK EMERALD (best price 13-2) may not have the sexy profile of some of his main rivals, but he’s honest as the day is long and that could count for plenty against several who may have a few questions to answer. A proper seven-furlong specialist, Brendan Powell’s charge has run right up to his best form on his last two outings (third behind Richard Pankhurst the pick) and a repeat of either performance should be good enough to see him with a podium finish at the very least.