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Counsel s is fit enough - Wall; 2.05 Handicap (1m2f).

Notable runners Eccentric has been in tremendous form and the course-and-distance winner coped admirably with the return to a mile when spreadeagling the opposition here 11 days ago. However, he has been raised 10lb for that success and is that amount worse off with the fourth, Dance On The Top. Course-and-distance winner Skidmark was having his first outing since being gelded and since September when finishing just in front of stablemate Caledonianover course and distance 28 days ago.

Counsel's Opinion won over a mile and a half on his debut here in March 2001 when the course was laid with equitrack, but has made only one other start on the all-weather. Always Esteemed, a winner over a mile here last July for Geoff Wragg, has his first outing for Kevin Ryan. Bourgainville drops in trip after running out of steam over a mile and a half here a week ago in a race in which Santandogave a hint of a return to form when finishing sixth to Cold Turkey.

Quotes Andrew Reid, trainer of Eccentric ``He is being aimed at the Derby trial and the Winter Derby, where the conditions particularly suit him, and he has clearly been in great form.'' Chris Wall, trainer of Counsel's Opinion ``We are coming here to see if he handles the track and, if he runs well and comes out of the race well, we could run him in the Winter Derby. I have been pleased with him in his work; he's a pretty committed old character in everything he does and he's fit enough to do himself justice.''

Kevin Ryan, trainer of Always Esteemed ``He's a really nice horse we bought from Geoff Wragg for Tony Yates, for whom we have had some good luck. He has really pleased us and is very well, but we're stepping up to a mile and a quarter. He's in the Lincoln and that would behis next stop, but I don't see the trip being a problem.''

Jim Boyle, trainer of Dance On The Top ``I always thought a mile was his trip, but he's rated 89 and there's nothing else for him. We are taking a flyer running him over a mile and two, but as he gets older we're hoping he will see out the trip better - and he did run in the King George V Handicap over a mile and a half as a three-year-old.''

David Bridgwater, trainer of Consonant ``A few of ours have been a bit bob and dick and we're hoping we are coming out of it. He's our best horse and he's well, but he's going to need the race. However, these pounds 20,000 races on the all-weather are not as competitive as pounds 20,000 races on the turf.''

William Haggas, trainer of Del Mar Sunset ``He is drawn terribly [11] and has never won over the trip, but the handicapper has given me no choice but to run him here.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 12, 2005
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