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Lingfield Preview: Dire Straits ready for the number one spot

Trainer Chris Wall has his team in terrific shape, and Dire Straits looks to hold outstanding claims of providing him with another winner in the 1m 5f handicap at Lingfield today (3.20).

The colt didn’t show much in three runs in decent maidens, but put in a much-improved effort on handicap debut with an eye-catching sixth of 12 to Ragged Robin over 1m 4f at Kempton.

Dire Straits showed plenty of pace to track the leaders. After getting outpaced three from home, he stayed on well inside the final furlong before being eased down in the final 100 yards, once it was clear he had no chance of making the frame.

Although eventually beaten by just over nine lengths, the winner won by 4 1/2 and went on to follow-up at Lingfield to give the form a solid look in the context of this weak looking Class 6 contest.

Dire Straits has since been dropped 2lb by the assessor to a mark of just 61 and, with further improvement looking assured and the step up to 1m 5f expected to suit, this looks a golden opportunity for the son of Teofilo to open his account.

Celestial Knight ran a stormer when runner-up last time out, and rates a solid bet to go one better in the 1m handicap (4.55).

The James Fanshawe-trained gelding went down by just a short-head to Plough Boy in a 1m contest at Kempton, travelling well for much of the contest and producing a strong run inside the final furlong.

It was an effort that suggested the son of Compton Place was ahead off his mark and, although 3lb higher, he looks potentially thrown-in off 60 based on one of his runs last season.

That came on debut at Kempton, where Celestial Knight finished a 4 3/4 length third to Merletta, who was officially rated 97 that day having previously come fourth in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York behind Lucky Kristale.

In the 1m handicap (5.25), Midnight Feast can take advantage of a drop in the weights to score an overdue success.

The gelding was last successful over a mile at Kempton in June 2013, when gamely beating Jake The Snake by 1/2 a length off a mark of 69.

Six-year-old Midnight Feast, who is a course and distance winner, is now a massive 13lb lower and running off a career-low mark of just 56.

Selections:
2.20: Turning Times
2.50: Lady Zodiac
3.20: Dire Straits (NAP)
3.50: Expose
4.25: Rembrandt van Rijn
4.55: Celestial Knight (NB)
5.25: Midnight Feast
6.00: Secret Success