Timeform's Adam Houghton highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Chelmsford on Thursday.
"Western Music produced a career best after four months off to hit the frame at Southwell last time, doing well under the circumstances to be beaten just half a length."
NAP: Western Music must enter calculations
Western Music produced a career best after four months off to hit the frame at Southwell last time, doing well under the circumstances to be beaten just half a length. Held up in the early stages, she ended up being caught further back than ideal and could never quite get on terms despite finishing very strongly (recorded a fast closing sectional). That was still a big step in the right direction and a repeat of that effort will give Western Music every chance of getting off the mark here in a race where plenty of her rivals have questions to answer.
NEXT BEST: High hopes for Hathlool
Hathlool got back on track with a narrow win at Wolverhampton 17 days ago, appearing to have more in hand from his mark than the bare margin of victory would suggest. He left the impression he would have benefited from a stronger gallop and it was to his immense credit that he managed to win at all, staying on well from a poor position to get the verdict by a nose. That was his second success from just four starts for the Mick Appleby yard (formerly trained in Ireland by Kevin Prendergast) and a 3 lb rise in the weights might not be enough to prevent him from going in again here, particularly if the application of a first-time hood helps him to settle.
EACH-WAY: Dubai Emperor fancied to rule
Dubai Emperor showed improved form when fifth on his latest outing at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day, passing the post just a neck behind the winner in a bunched finish. That was his first start since June and just the sixth of his career, so it was encouraging to see him go so close after failing to make an impact in his previous attempts. The way he ran on under just hands-and-heels riding suggests he could yet have more to offer as well, particularly now stepping back up in trip slightly. In a wide-open contest despite the small field, Dubai Emperor is worth another chance to prove himself better than a BHA mark of 53.
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