AEGEAN DAWN is a horse on the up and he can laugh at his rivals once again. A winner of a conditional jockeys' race at Cheltenham on the bridle (first two miles clear), the giant Paul Murphy-owned gelding is scheduled to race off a mark of 135 in the future so this 16lb lower mark should pose no problems. Alhaque is a course and distance winner and his novice season suggested at better to come this year, whilst the highly-regard Mille Chief looks the pick of the Alan King runners but his trainer thinks that he might just need the run again. Money for Secret Dancer would arouse interest, whilst Hibiki is up 6lbs for his Ascot second for Sarah Humphrey. Elsewhere Spring Jim looks high enough in the weights for this return to hurdling, Afsoun has a first start for Neil King over hurdles and he has the talent to muller these if back to his best, whilst Benfleet Boy is back over timber after two average chase efforts.
Afsoun (FR) 25-1 (11-12) Led, headed approaching 4 out, ridden after 3 out, one pace, 3rd of 13, 11l behind Bella Haze (10-13) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) gs in May.
Benfleet Boy 5-1 (11-1) Led until 3rd, remained with leader until jumped slowly 5th and 6th, lost place 8th, rallied before 4 out, weakened 2 out, 4th of 5, 18l behind Potemkin (11-1) at Ffos Las 2m nov chs (3) gs.
Spring Jim 6-1 (11-4) Mid-division, tracked leaders approaching 2 out, effort and every chance between last 2, 4th and one pace when not fluent last, 4th of 9, 13l behind Captain Chris (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 1f nh nov hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Mille Chief (FR) 10-3fav (11-12) Mid-division on inside, hampered 4 out, effort on outside to chase leaders next, kept on same pace, never on terms, 5th of 16, 18l behind Nearby (11-4) at Aintree 2m hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gs in Oct.
Secret Dancer (IRE) 25-1 (10-8) Behind, headway 2 out, kept on from last, nearest finish, 7th of 28, 11l behind Thousand Stars (10-5) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl G3 (1) gd in Mar.
Hibiki (IRE) 14-1 (10-0) Prominent, hamprerd 1st, soon mid-division, headway before 2 out, chased leaders last, stayed on under pressure, never reached winner, 2nd of 11, hd behind Tocca Ferro (10-2) at Ascot 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Oct.
Dr Livingstone (IRE) 15-2 (11-9) In rear, ridden approaching 3 out, headway to go 3rd approaching 2 out, kept on, no impression, 3rd of 10, 4 1/2l behind Rio Gael (11-4) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd.
Wingman (IRE) 22-1 (11-6) Mid-division, driven 5th, soon struggling, tailed off 3 out, 21st of 24, well behind Joe Jo Star (11-0) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl G3 (1) gd in May '09.
Simply Blue 9-1 (11-7) Held up mid-division, headway halfway, soon chasing leaders, driven to lead approaching last, ran on well, won at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Oct '09 beating Humble Opinion (11-6) by 2 3/4l, 10 ran.
Dani's Girl (IRE) 20-1 (10-3) Always behind, 15th of 23, 49l behind Qaspal (10-3) at Sandown 2m lst hcp hdl (0-150) (1) gs in Mar.
Tuanku (IRE) 15-8 (11-4) Raced in 3rd, chased winner 5th, ridden when hit 2 out, no impression soon after, 2nd of 4, 11l behind Helium (11-8) at Sandown 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) sft in Dec '08.
Alhaque (USA) 11-4 (11-4) Held up in touch, ridden and weakened from 3 out, 4th of 6, 29l behind Five Out Of Five (11-4) at Newton Abbot 2m 3f nh nov hdl (3) gd in Jun.
Aegean Dawn 6-4fav (11-0) Held up in mid-division, smooth headway when hampered 4 out, went 2nd on bit 2 out, cruised up to challenge last, soon led, hard held, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs beating Dynaste (11-5) by 3 1/2l, 23 ran.