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Ardmay in hunt for vital win

ARDMAY should really be winning Ripon's Wilmot-Smith Memorial Handicap if he is to justify Royal Ascot aspirations.

The four-year-old holds an early entry for the Hunt Cup and while he may struggle to get in off his current rating of 90, a win here could help him make the line up.

Kevin Ryan's charge looked thoroughly in need of his debut when well beaten behind Dubai Dynamo at Thirsk in April but he turned that form around when consigning his old adversary to fourth last time.

Ardmay had obviously derived plenty of benefit from his Thirsk outing as he took it up with a furlong still to run over a mile at this track before repelling all challengers.

That effort was a career best as he triumphed off a mark 5lb higher than his last winning perch and a further 2lb rise looks reasonable for this event.

The slightly quicker conditions may not be absolutely ideal but he has handled good ground before and can do so again in what is a competitive heat.

Special Meaning was a winner at Leicester last week and makes a swift reappearance under a penalty in the Weatherbys Bank Handicap.A half-sister to 1000 Guineas winner Speciosa, Special Meaning finally landed a first success when switched to handicap company after three fruitless efforts in maidens.

She made all in an admittedly modest heat a week ago, but powered home in style by four lengths, looking capable of much more in the process. Trainer Mark Johnston is a shrewd operator and it is worth noting he would sooner make a quick reappearance than wait for the handicapper to reassess his charge.

Silk Train demonstrated plenty of promise on her racecourse bow and can put the experience to good use in the Racing Welfare Maiden Stakes at Yarmouth.

David Simcock's filly was beaten nearly 10 lengths by the well-regarded Riposte over 12 furlongs at Newmarket last month but should be all the better for that run and smart enough to triumph here.

Callmeakhab did not enjoy the best of luck at Goodwood but can gain compensation in the Aurora Fireworks Handicap at Lingfield.

Winner of a Chester maiden last month, she got squeezed out a bit in the final 100 yards on the Sussex Downs and while she probably would not have won, she may well have claimed second rather than fourth.

She possibly was not totally suited by the step up to a mile that day either, so the switch to seven furlongs is also a positive.

Ferdy Murphy may move to France but he is sending out a few winners in the interim and Balding Banker can add another in the Book The Pavilion Restaurant Novices' Chase at Hexham.