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Bath Preview: Branston can leave rivals in a pickle

Trainer Mark Johnston has his team in terrific form, and Branston De Soto has leading credentials of providing him with another winner in the 1m 5f handicap at Bath this evening (8.40).

Th gedling caught the eye on seasonal reappearance at Carlisle last month when staying on late to finish fourth of 10 to Emerahdlz over 1m 3f.

The son of Hernando was held-up well off the pace, and got caught flat footed when the pace quickened before keeping on inside the final furlong to be beaten 6 3/4 lengths.

It was an effort which suggested Branston De Soto would be more than capable of winning races from his current mark of 62, and the step up in trip to 1m 5f is a major plus.

Johnston’s handicappers often show marked improvement when upped to staying distances, and Branston De Soto has all the hallmarks of a winner waiting to happen.

Sharp Lookout is a fascinating contender of handicap debut in the 1m 2f contest (6.40), and could potentially be a cut above his rivals.

The Roger Charlton trained son of Shamardal showed progress form in three quick maide runs at the end of last year, culminating in a solid staying on third of 10 to Chinnotto over a mile at Lingfield.

It was an effort which suggested Sharp Lookout was being brought along with handicaps in mind, and the three-year-old has since been gelded ahead of his debut in that sphere.

That may well bring about significant improvement, and the step up in trip will also suit as Sharp Lookout is bred to come into his own over middle distances.

Silverrica ran a blinder when runner-up to a progressive sort last time out, and with Richard Hughes in the saddle looks capable of going one better in the 6f handicap (8.10).

The Malcolm Saunders trained filly kept on well to be beaten 2 lengths by High On Life in a 5f contest at Lingfield off a rating of 70, and the winner has since gone on to follow-up in good style off a revised mark of 88.

That gives the form a solid look, and makes Silverrica look weighted to take all the beating off the same mark.

The four-year-old is also just 2lb higher than when winning over course and distance 12 months ago, and the booking of Hughes suggests connections mean business as the champion jockey has a strike rate of just over 44% when teaming up with stable in the past 12 months.

Selections:
6.10: Jimmy’s Girl
6.40: Sharp Lookout
7.10: Jacob Cats
7.40: Fyrecracker
8.10: Silverrica (NB)
8.40: Branston De Soto (NAP)
9.10: Windshield