SHAHWARDI, runner-up to Simenon a year ago, has obviously been targeted to go one better and it will be a surprise if there's one as good as the Gold Cup runner-up in the line-up this year so he has to be the selection. Chiberta King has a Listed success over 2m to his credit and has generally performed at a much higher level so he has to be on the short-list while No Heretic looks well worth a try over this longer distance and is proving most consistent. Jim Bolger wouldn't be sending Cul Baire here without good reason and the progressive Leopardstown winner, who is bred for this sort of trip, can get involved along with Nicky Henderson's Courtesy Call, who has been in very good form in staying races over hurdles. Meganisi and the enigmatic and well-named Mad Moose are others to consider though potential punters might care to wait to see if the latter consents to start before plunging.
American Spin 13-2 (9-8) Soon tracking leader, led after 2f, ridden and narrowly headed over 4f out, stayed pressing leader under pressure and every chance 2f out, one pace in 3rd over 1f out, 3rd of 11, 6l behind Rasheed (9-6) at Kempton 2m hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Feb '12.
Chiberta King 16-1 (8-12) Chased leader, driven to challenge over 3f out, weakened over 2f out, 5th of 7, 13l behind Willing Foe (8-12) at Newbury 1m 5f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gf in May.
Cosimo De Medici 8-1 (9-7) Started slowly, held up in rear, slightly hampered approaching halfway, steady headway travelling well over 2f out, went 2nd inside final furlong, stayed on, unable to reach winner, 2nd of 13, 3/4l behind Palazzo Bianco (9-5) at Goodwood 2m hcp 0-85 (4) gd in May.
Cul Baire (IRE) 8-1 (9-6) Tracked leader in 2nd, headway to lead entering straight and soon ridden to assert, driven out and kept on well inside final furlong, won at Leopardstown 1m 6f hcp 60-90 gf beating Defence Of Duress (9-4) by 2 1/2l, 12 ran.
First Avenue 16-1 (8-4) Held up well off the pace towards rear, headway on inside over 2f out, went 4th over 1f out, no chance with leading trio, dropped to 5th towards finish, 5th of 12, 7l behind Sheikhzayedroad (9-7) at Epsom Downs 1m 4f hcp 0-100 (2) gd.
Junior 4-1 (9-10) Led, driven and headed 5f out, soon ridden, lost place over 3f out, weakened inside final 2f, 9th of 19, 29l behind Veiled (9-3) at Royal Ascot 2m 4f hcp 0-95 (2) gd in Jun '11.
Mad Moose (IRE) 7-1 (9-0) Refused to race, in a race won by Songcraft (9-0) at York 1m 6f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gd in May, 5 ran.
Meganisi (IRE) 40-1 (8-12) Raced wide, chased leaders, pushed along halfway, ridden 5f out, weakened inside final 4f, tailed off, last of 9, 36l behind Universal (8-11) at Newbury 1m 4f Grp 3 (1) gs in Apr.
No Heretic 7-2fav (9-4) Tracked leader, ridden over 2f out, every chance inside final furlong, no extra towards finish, 3rd of 10, 1/2l behind Highland Castle (9-0) at Newmarket 1m 4f hcp 0-105 (2) gf.
Ocean's Minstrel 25-1 (9-11) In touch, ridden 3f out, plugged on same pace, 6th of 14, 14l behind Ardlui (10-0) at Newmarket 2m hcp 0-90 (3) sft in Nov.
Palazzo Bianco 11-1 (8-8) Behind, outpaced over 5f out, tailed off over 3f out, 10th of 14, 17l behind De Rigueur (8-13) at Haydock 2m hcp 0-100 (2) gf.
Riptide 12-1 (9-1) In touch in 4th, pushed along 4f out, led over 1f out, soon ridden, kept on well, won at Pontefract 2m 1f hcp 0-80 (4) gf beating Our Folly (8-12) by 4l, 10 ran.
Seaside Sizzler 10-1 (9-2) In touch in 5th, pushed along over 3f out, headway on outside over 1f out, plugged on inside final furlong, 4th of 13, 3 1/2l behind Sun Central (9-7) at Salisbury 1m 6f hcp 0-95 (3) gf in May.
Shahwardi (FR) 12-1 (8-13) last of 6, well behind Domeside (8-11) at Longchamp(FR) 1m 7f Grp 2 (1) sft in May.
Stopped Out 10-3 (10-0) Dwelt, soon led, ridden and headed over 1f out, no extra closing stages, 2nd of 8, 5l behind Bold Sniper (8-11) at Thirsk 1m 4f mdn stks (5) sft in May.
Courtesy Call (IRE) 5-1fav (8-5) Prominent, chased clear leader 10f out, joined leader 7f out, led 5f out, ridden and headed over 1f out, kept on one pace, 2nd of 18, 4 1/2l behind Domination (8-9) at Newmarket 2m 2f hcp 105 (2) gf in Sep.
Mashaari (IRE) 13-2 (9-8) Prominent, led over 3f out, soon strongly challenged, headed over 1f out, faded, 4th of 15, 11l behind Well Sharp (9-7) at York 2m hcp 0-90 (3) sft in May.
Yazdi (IRE) 20-1 (9-7) Mid-division, headway and in touch on outside 7f out, driven over 2f out, weakened final furlong, 8th of 16, 16l behind Educate (9-7) at York 1m 2f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) hvy in Oct.
Cloudy Spirit 14-1 (9-1) Mid-division, headway over 1f out, soon no impression, 5th of 15, 14l behind Well Sharp (9-7) at York 2m hcp 0-90 (3) sft in May.
Sohar 12-1 (8-12) Towards rear, ridden 3f out, kept on final furlong, never nearer, 5th of 10, 4l behind Arch Villain (8-12) at Goodwood 1m 6f hcp 0-105 (2) gs in May.