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8lb rise could rob Crowley’s unbeaten Sapphire of her mystique

The 8:15 feature race at Kempton has small but select field with three last-time-out winners among the five going to post.

The unbeaten Mystical Sapphire will understandably be all the rage for the 7f burn up given the form of the unbeaten three-year-old’s cosy seasonal debut success has been franked with the second winning twice since.

Tonight’s race under the Kempton lights will the first since November for Mystical Sapphire’s fellow twice-raced rookie Melvin The Grate, who took a maiden over tonight’s track and trip on that occasion.

His form two is gathering substance with the fourth and fifth in that race winning since, but an opening handicap mark of 79 seems high enough given the fourth placed Captain Starlight is rated only 73 three races later.

Mystical Sapphire was a taking winner, with her jockey not once needing to resort to the whip when holding off the subsequently progressive Ashamaly and the 8lb weight rise that was her reward for that triumph may well prove to be generous in hindsight, but nonetheless it will ask questions of the lightly-raced favourite.

Seemingly better treated at the weights is Flashlight, who has been left on the same mark as when scooting home by five lengths over 1f shorter on his all weather debut last time out, but jockey Joe Fanning admitted afterwards that “it wasn´t the best of races” and it seems the handicapper has taken a similarly dim view of the form.

Having failed pick up the leader in placed efforts over 7f in races on heavy and soft ground, her best performance last term came over 6f on good ground when second to Mar Mar.

Mar Mar has given that run a strong look having gone on to place fourth and sixth in the UAE Guineas and UAE Oaks respectively this term.

With Flashlight running arguably her best run on a sound surface but outpaced by Mar Mar over 6f, the return to 7f on the Kempton Polytrack could be just the ticket.