Earth Amber made a sparkling debut for Nicky Henderson on her arrival from France in a Listed contest at Nottingham where she had Handazan and the favourite Sir Graham Wade behind. There's no reason for a form reversal though the latter ran poorly on his debut last season. Askar Tau won this in 2011 though already had a run under his belt but Caucus has won first time out in the past and ended the last campaign with a fine victory at Newmarket. STEPS TO FREEDOM is a superb dual-purpose performer equally at home on the Flat or over hurdles. He arrives fit and ready and is just given the nod over the unexposed Estimate, who easily won the Queen's Vase at the Royal meeting but didn't quite match that form in subsequent starts.
Askar Tau (FR) 33-1 (9-7) Held up last, ridden 2f out, headway on outside over 1f out, stayed on well to take 3rd well inside final furlong, 3rd of 9, 3/4l behind Rite Of Passage (9-7) at Ascot 2m Grp 3 (1) sft in Oct.
Buckland (IRE) 9-2 (9-7) Took keen hold tracking leaders on inside, went 2nd over 1f out, led inside final furlong, ridden and stayed on, headed post, 2nd of 11, shd behind Desert Recluse (8-12) at Kempton 2m hcp 0-105 (2) pol in Apr.
Caucus 12-1 (9-3) Held up in mid-division, smooth headway when switched left to 3rd over 2f out, challenged 2f out, led over 1f out, stayed on strongly, driven out, won at Newmarket 2m Listed stks 3yo (1) gd in Sep beating Cavalryman (9-6) by 2 1/4l, 13 ran.
Solar Sky 25-1 (9-1) Tracked leaders and keen, pushed along 5f out, weakened over 3f out, last of 11, 37l behind Times Up (9-1) at York 2m Grp 2 (1) gs in Aug.
Steps To Freedom (IRE) 9-2 (9-5) Tracked leaders in 4th, headway to go 2nd early straight, ridden and tried to challenge over 1f out, no impression inside final furlong and kept on same pace, 3rd of 6, 2l behind Parish Hall (9-5) at Curragh 1m 2f Listed stks (1) in Apr.
Tres Rock Danon (FR) 12-1 (9-4) last of 7, 6l behind Joshua Tree (9-4) at Deauville(FR) 1m 7f Grp 2 (1) gd in Aug.
Handazan (IRE) 14-1 (8-11) Tracked leader, led after 1f, ridden and headed 3f out, chased winner, well held over 1f out, lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 8, 4l behind Testosterone (8-9) at Nottingham 1m 6f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gd in Apr.
Sir Graham Wade (IRE) 9-4 (9-0) Chased leaders, pushed along over 3f out, ridden over 2f out, weakened well over 1f out, 5th of 8, 10l behind Testosterone (8-9) at Nottingham 1m 6f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gd in Apr.
Earth Amber 16-1 (8-6) Held up in 6th, headway on outside 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, went 2nd close home, no chance with winner, 2nd of 8, 3 1/2l behind Testosterone (8-9) at Nottingham 1m 6f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gd in Apr.
Estimate (IRE) 7-2 (8-6) Dwelt, soon tracked leaders, headway to lead over 3f out, ridden over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, no extra and lost 2nd place close home, 3rd of 9, 1 1/2l behind Wild Coco (9-4) at Doncaster 1m 7f Grp 2 flls (1) gd in Sep.