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Despite trainer John Flint's concerns about the softish ground and drop in trip, Benedict Spirit proved the answer to the conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle in the hands of his son Rhys.
It was on the softish side of dead at Doncaster but the drying ground now is very much in his favour."
Charlton withdrew Rocket Ship at Leicester last weekend due to the fast ground, but is delighted that downpours have ensured a softish surface at Salisbury.
This step up to three miles is what he needs in softish conditions and although this is easily his stiffest test to date over fences, he might prove up to the job.
The key to Chives's chance at Haydock, meanwhile, is the step back up to three and a half miles and the probability of softish ground, both of which will bring his stamina into play.
He likes soft - softish anyway - so I'm sure he'd go well on slow to good.
A well-backed favourite that day on the strength of his victory at Newmarket previously, he will also relish the likely easier surface at Ayr judged on his eye-catching third on softish ground at Beverley in August.
I don't think there is any doubt Nicky Henderson's nineyear-old is the classiest horse in the race and in Derek O'Connor also has the best jockey, but 3m71/2f in softish ground is a big test for any horse, let alone one who can be too keen in his races.
He showed promise on all three outings last season, and they were all on softish ground.
The way he quickened in softish ground was very good.
"The only previous time he's contested that level he ran well to be a close fourth in the Juddmonte International at York, where we feel the muddling pace and softish ground didn't help him.
Hearts hit Celts with two goals inside the first 20 minutes then scored from a softish penalty five minutes after the interval.