Our three for this race are MASTERSHIP, Giganticus and Atlantic Story with John Quinn's runner getting the nod. His selection is in no small part due to the presence of Johnny Murtagh in the saddle as the Irishman is riding at the top of his game this season and will need to be so here to deliver this tricky ride at the right time. Mastership looked to be a shrewd acquisition by the Yorkshire trainer as he has the scope to win a big prize such as this from his current mark. He was beaten under four lengths over course and distance in the International on his penultimate start before his run at Kempton where he didn't get the requisite cover. He should get plenty of that here and it's a question of whether the gaps appear at the right time and whether the draw has a part to play and with the latter such a concern it seems prudent to have a runner on each side and, of those drawn low Giganticus makes plenty of appeal. He wasn't been far in the International from the same mark as today and appears to have been aimed at this race; he's unlikely to be far away. Stablemate Zaahid shouldn't be dismissed out of hand as he had looked useful earlier in the season and may be able to bounce back but we'll put Atlantic Story forwards as our third nomination. Mick Easterby's gelding has been far more successful on the all-weather than turf but his handicap mark reflects that and he ran well enough on ground that wouldn't have suited on his first outing since May. This longer trip will suit, the run will have brought him on and he appeals as one of the more interesting outsiders.
Hitchens (IRE) 25-1 (9-3) Started slowly, raced down side, towards rear, headway over 1f out, kept on, never nearer, 11th of 27, 7l behind Conquest (8-9) at Goodwood 6f hcap (2) gf in Aug.
Military Cross 12-1 (9-6) Switched right soon after start, soon rousted into mid-divison, ridden over 2f out, no impression, 12th of 18, 9l behind Fifteen Love (8-12) at Goodwood 1m hcap (2) gf in Aug.
Conquest (IRE) 14-1 (9-6) In touch far side, ridden along halfway, driven, kept on final furlong, 4th of 20, 1l behind Tajneed (8-12) at Ripon 6f hcp 0-105 (2) gs in Aug.
Pearly Wey 22-1 (9-0) Mid-division, headway 3f out, soon ridden, kept on same pace from over 1f out, 6th of 17, 3 1/2l behind Edge Closer (9-4) at Newmarket 6f lst stk (1) gf in Aug.
Dhaular Dhar (IRE) 28-1 (9-2) Behind far side group, stayed on over 1f out, nearest finish, 14th of 27, 6l behind Regal Parade (8-10) at Ayr 6f hcap (2) hvy.
Giganticus (USA) 14-1 (9-0) Held up mid-division, headway over 2f out, soon ridden, bumped entering final furlong, ran on, 3rd of 25, 2l behind Laa Rayb (9-7) at Ascot 7f hcap (2) gf in Jul.
Celtic Sultan (IRE) 8-1 (9-1) Chased leader until 2f out, soon weakened, 12th of 14, 12l behind Furnace (8-1) at Chester 1m hcap (2) gf in Aug.
Tamagin (USA) 25-1 (9-1) Led far side group, headed over 1f out, edged right and no extra, 9th of 27, 4 1/2l behind Regal Parade (8-10) at Ayr 6f hcap (2) hvy.
Zaahid (IRE) 12-1 (9-1) Chased leaders, ridden, every chance 2f out, soon weakened, 16th of 25, 10l behind Laa Rayb (9-7) at Ascot 7f hcap (2) gf in Jul.
Vanderlin 5-1 (8-9) In touch, progress over 1f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, headed final strides, 2nd of 14, shd behind Furnace (8-1) at Chester 1m hcap (2) gf in Aug.
Mastership (IRE) 11-4fav (9-1) Took keen hold in touch, not clear run from 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, 3rd of 12, 1 1/2l behind Warsaw (9-2) at Kempton 6f hcp 0-105 (2) pol in Aug.
Bolodenka (IRE) 12-1 (9-1) Mid-division, ridden over 3f out, kept on from over 1f out to lead entering final furlong, driven out, won at Ayr 1m hcap (2) hvy beating The Snatcher (9-1) by 2 1/2l, 11 ran.
Underworld 13-2 (9-6) Prominent, ridden over 3f out, weakened over 1f out, last of 11, 33l behind Bolodenka (9-1) at Ayr 1m hcap (2) hvy.
Al Muheer (IRE) 20-1 (8-9) Bumped start, behind, not clear run over 2f out, never on terms, 8th of 14, 4 1/2l behind Furnace (8-1) at Chester 1m hcap (2) gf in Aug.
Caldra (IRE) 16-1 (8-11) Raced keenly, close up, ridden 3f out, no impression 2f out, 7th of 9, 8l behind Yaddree (8-6) at Newbury 1m 1f stk (3) gd.
Markab 15-2 (9-6) Broke well, led, ridden and headed 1f out, no extra towards finish, 4th of 10, 1l behind Benllech (9-0) at Lingfield 6f hcp 0-95 (3) pol.
Phantom Whisper 7-1 (8-13) Behind, mid-division, switched left to outside over 3f out, never in contention, 7th of 12, 6l behind South Cape (8-9) at Goodwood 7f hcap (2) sft.
Skhilling Spirit 22-1 (8-9) Behind stands side group, stayed on 2f out, nearest finish, 5th of 27, 3 1/2l behind Regal Parade (8-10) at Ayr 6f hcap (2) hvy.
Relative Order 4-1 (9-2) Tracked leaders, ridden and edged left over 1f out, kept on to go 2nd inside final furlong, 2nd of 10, 4l behind Irish Mayhem (9-0) at Great Leighs 1m 3yo hcp (2) pol.
We'll Come 10-1 (9-12) In touch, every chance over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, soon beaten, 6th of 11, 10l behind Zero Tolerance (9-1) at Haydock 1m hcp 0-100 (2) hvy in Aug.
Extraterrestrial 20-1 (8-6) In rear, niggled along, headway over 1f out, ran on inside final furlong, 3rd of 14, 3/4l behind Furnace (8-1) at Chester 1m hcap (2) gf in Aug.
Cape Hawk (IRE) 11-1 (9-5) Led 1f, stayed prominent, ridden to challenge over 1f out, every chance, not pace of winner, 2nd of 16, 2 1/2l behind Premio Loco (9-10) at Kempton 1m hcap (2) pol.
Flipando (IRE) 15-2 (8-13) Steadied start, raced wide behind, ridden over 2f out, stayed on inside final furlong, nearest finish, 4th of 12, 3 1/2l behind South Cape (8-9) at Goodwood 7f hcap (2) sft.
Atlantic Story (USA) 16-1 (9-6) Chased leaders, ridden to lead over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, no extra, 5th of 21, 5l behind Main Aim (9-4) at Doncaster 6f hcap (3) sft.
Big Noise 7-1 (9-11) Held up in touch, pushed along over 3f out, ridden over 1f out, challenged winner inside final furlong, kept on, 2nd of 10, 1 1/2l behind Riggins (9-4) at Great Leighs 1m hcp 0-90 (3) pol in Aug.
Signor Peltro 5-2fav (8-11) Steadied start, held up, not clear run from 2f out, switched right 1f out, ran on inside final furlong, finished well and gaining towards finish, 3rd of 12, 1l behind South Cape (8-9) at Goodwood 7f hcap (2) sft.
South Cape 12-1 (8-9) Tracked leader, slightly outpaced 2f out, stayed on to lead inside final furlong, ran on well, won at Goodwood 7f hcap (2) sft beating Salient (8-8) by 1l, 12 ran.
Furnace (IRE) 16-1 (8-1) Mid-division, headway over 4f out, led over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, rallied to lead again final strides, won at Chester 1m hcap (2) gf in Aug beating Vanderlin (8-9) by a shd, 14 ran.
Golden Desert (IRE) 15-2 (9-8) Pulled hard, soon close up, ridden over 2f out, every chance over 12f out, weakened final furlong, 8th of 10, 7l behind Riggins (9-4) at Great Leighs 1m hcp 0-90 (3) pol in Aug.