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Ripon preview: Quick Defence can strike for Stoute

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute does well with his rare runners at Ripon, and Quick Defence can provide him with another winner in the 1m handicap on today’s seven-race card (16.20).

The Newmarket handler has a strike rate of 40 per cent at the venue in the past 12 months, saddling two winners and once placed for just five runners.

In Quick Defence, he has a colt who had been progressing well prior to disappointing last time out in a competitive class 2 contest at Newmarket.

After finishing runner-up three times, Quick Defence got off the mark in good style when quickening clear a furlong from home to easily land a maiden at Leicester by 4 1/2 lengths.

It was a most taking performance, and Quick Defence backed it up with a cracking seventh of 28 to War Envoy in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot off his current mark of 90.

The son of First Defence ran on strongly to be nearest at the finish and beaten 3 1/2 lengths, and the form reads extremely well in the context of this contest.

Leger 3

It may well have been that the race at Newmarket came too quickly after that effort and, having since been given a break to freshen up, Quick Defence looks weighted to take all the beating judged on his run in the Britannia.

In the 1m 2f amateur riders’ handicap (17.30), Intensified looks decent value to cash-in on a drop in the weights and belatedly open his account.

The gelding is yet to win in 16 starts but did have some smart form as a juvenile in Ireland, most notably when runner-up to subsequent Coventry Stakes winner War Command at Leopardstown.

Intensified also ran well first time up last season when runner-up in an apprentice handicap at Naas off 72 before his form tailed off badly.

Now in the care of Ruth Carr, the four-year-old is able to race off a career-low rating of just 57 having hinted at a return to form last time out.

After stumbling at the start, Intensified kept on to finish a 3 3/4 length fifth of 14 to Revision at Leicester without being unduly knocked about.

It was an effort which suggested Intensified retained enough ability to win a race of this nature, and if building on it the son of Intense Focus has a massive chance from a handicapping perspective.

Selections:
14.00: Cuppatee
14.35: Sandgate
15.10: Penny Royale
15.45: Still On Top
16.20: Quick Defence (NAP)
16.55: Don Keyhoe Tay
17.30: Intensified (NB)