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Saturday 10 December 2016

Fast-improving sprinter Double Up can make it three from three for the year in the Home Of Racing Handicap on Newmarket's July Course.

Fast-improving sprinter Double Up can make it three from three for the year in the Home Of Racing Handicap on Newmarket's July Course.

A quality field has assembled for the five-furlong feature, with plenty of familiar names from the sprinting ranks set to do battle, including the likes of Discussiontofollow, Noble Storm, Humidor and Top Boy.

Double Up does not have the same experience as some of his opponents, but on the other side of the coin he is not as exposed and his impressive recent displays suggest he is a horse to keep on side. Roger Varian's four-year-old ran a number of good races last season, but looked to have taken his game to another level when bolting up on his return to action on the Rowley Mile in the middle of May.

A 10lb hike and more testing conditions were not enough to stop him following up in a better race at Nottingham a couple of weeks later and he now has a rating pushing 100.

Double Up needs to step forward again to defy his new mark, but there is every chance he will back on a fast surface and the booking of Ryan Moore is another big plus.

The William Haggas-trained Khalaas gets the nod in the Newmarket Nights Handicap.

The Iffraaj gelding was third behind the smart Ooty Hill on his sole juvenile appearance at Newmarket last October, so it was no surprise to see him sent off a hot favourite for his return to action at Newcastle last month. He landed some hefty bets with an authoritative success and the way he ran through the line suggested the step up to a mile is well within range.

An opening mark of 82 gives him every chance of make a successful start to life in handicaps.

Gifted Master will surely get back on the winning trail in the Betfred "Fun And Friendly" Novice Stakes at Newcastle.

Hugo Palmer's youngster looked a seriously high-class two-year-old when making a winning debut at Newmarket in April. His return there last month saw him get within three-quarters of a length of subsequent Woodcote and Coventry Stakes winner Buratino. A reproduction of that run should see him home in front in the opener at Gosforth Park.

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