Silver aiming to shine
Alan Bailey is expecting Strictly Silver to get his campaign back on track as he aims for successive wins in the Ladbrokes Lincoln Trial.
The five-year-old got the better of Guest Of Honour in a thrilling finish to Saturday's valuable handicap at Wolverhampton 12 months ago before going on to finish a creditable eighth in the Lincoln itself at Doncaster at the end of March.
Bailey's charge went on to enjoy a decent campaign on turf and although he has been disappointing on his last four starts on the all-weather, the Newmarket handler thinks he has his grey back on song.
"I'm expecting him to run a big race tomorrow. He's moving well and working well," said Bailey. "He hasn't been running up to his best of late, but he hasn't been quite right in his back.
"We think we've remedied that now and I think he's as well as he's been for six or seven months at the moment, so we're looking forward to Saturday.
"If all went well we would think about the Lincoln, but it all depends on the ground.
"He ran well enough in the race last year, but it was horrible ground and we'd want some decent ground to be going back to Doncaster with him."
The Michael Bell-trained filly Fashion Line has made just four career starts, winning her last two over this weekend's course and distance.
She was last seen dead-heating with Richard Guest's Sky Khan, who reopposes this weekend.
Bell said: "Fashion Line is a filly with a very progressive profile and is unbeaten at Wolverhampton, so we have got to be hopeful.
"The draw (stall 10) is not ideal, but in theory it could be worse - we could be in 13. She is still relatively inexperienced and was probably a bit green in front last time.
"You have got to give Sky Khan some credit though, because our filly wasn't stopping, so he must have really picked up. In hindsight, with a couple of smacks a furlong out she might have won outright, but that's nitpicking.
"She has got fractures in both of her front legs and has got screws in her front pasterns, so it's a miracle she's standing training really.
"I think she is capable of picking up a bit of black type in the future. After the Lincoln Trial, the plan is to run in a Listed race at Kempton on April 19."
Shane Donohoe's Irish raider Star Links has won eight times from 16 starts at Dunstall Park, but the trainer admits his charge faces his toughest test to date this weekend.
Donohoe said: "It's a big step up for him, but he's earned the right to go there.
"He's going to have to be at the top of his game and he's a funny old boy, so it will depend which side of the bed he gets out of on Saturday morning.
"It's a tough ask, but he does love Wolverhampton. The draw (stall 11) isn't ideal, so if he can run a nice race we'll be delighted. Whatever happens on Saturday, he owes us nothing."
Global Village was sixth in this race a year ago before going on to finish a short-head second in the Lincoln at Doncaster.
A return to Town Moor is very much on the nine-year-old's agenda, but trainer Brian Ellison is not keen on his chances on Saturday.
He said: "He's in good form, but he has a very bad draw (stall 12). That would be the main worry. It doesn't look like there will be much pace in the race either, so that will be against him. We'll get the run into him and hopefully go back to Doncaster."
David Simcock is strongly represented, with Noble Citizen, Whispering Warrior and Postscript all in the field.
Noble Citizen would appear the pick of the trio, having won his last three starts on the all-weather at Southwell.
Geoff Oldroyd's Alfred Hutchinson, Ann Stokell's Tellovoi, Derek Shaw's Loyalty, Party Royal from Mark Johnston's yard and the David Barron-trained Tres Coronas complete the 13-runner field.