Though the time was slow, Just The Tonic won with a bit in hand on her reappearance at Thirsk and is clearly in good heart. She should make a bold bid to follow up while Northern Bolt, drawn alongside, was only beaten a neck when favourite at Thirsk last time, though this longer distance has stretched his stamina in the past. Smalljohn wasn't beaten far at Wolverhampton in March while Ventura Sands and Watts Up Son should strip fitter for comeback runs. Al Muheer should also be approaching peak fitness but FIELDGUNNER KIRKUP is from a family that generally improves with age and he looked to be on the way back when third at Redcar in November. He receives a tentative vote in this.
Al Muheer (IRE) 20-1 (9-4) Keen in touch, ridden 2f out, weakening when hampered inside final furlong, 9th of 11, 5l behind Indian Art (9-4) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-80 (4) pol in Apr.
Just The Tonic 20-1 (9-0) Held up mid-division, headway 3f out, led 1f out, driven clear final furlong, stayed on well, won at Thirsk 7f hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Apr beating Georgebernardshaw (8-9) by 4l, 10 ran.
Shadowtime 11-1 (9-4) Chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, soon hampered and lost place, no impression after, 7th of 17, 6l behind Imaginary World (9-1) at Pontefract 1m hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Sep.
Fieldgunner Kirkup (GER) 7-1 (9-5) Prominent, ridden over 1f out, kept on same pace inside final furlong, 3rd of 11, 3l behind Green Howard (9-7) at Redcar 7f 3yo hcp 0-75 (5) gd in Nov.
Ventura Sands (IRE) 14-1 (8-8) Raced wide prominent, ridden over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 10th of 15, 18l behind Global Village (9-0) at Leicester 7f hcp 0-85 (4) sft in Apr.
Watts Up Son 14-1 (8-13) Chased leadrs, ridden to lead on inside over 2f out, headed over 1f out, chased winner until inside final furlong, no extra, 5th of 15, 12l behind Flying Applause (9-3) at Pontefract 1m hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Apr.
Northern Bolt 2-1fav (9-7) Soon in rear, outpaced and behind over 3f out, headway in center approaching final furlong, ran on to go 2nd final strides, not reach winner, 2nd of 9, nk behind Prince James (8-8) at Catterick 6f app hcp (6) sft in Apr.
Smalljohn 5-1 (9-1) Tracked leader, ridden inside final furlong, kept on towards finish, 3rd of 10, hd behind Chookie Avon (9-2) at Wolverhampton 7f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Mar.
Piceno (IRE) 11-1 (9-0) Reared start, slowly away in rear, ridden and headway over 1f out, kept on one pace, 4th of 12, 3 1/2l behind The Osteopath (9-6) at Thirsk 7f hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Apr.
Summer Dancer (IRE) 13-2 (9-7) Taken to post early, towards rear, never on terms, 8th of 9, 10l behind Bavarian Princess (8-13) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Oct.
River Ardeche 5-1 (9-6) Tracked leaders and keen, led over 3f out, ridden and raced stand side 2f out, headed over 2f out, kept on same pace, 4th of 12, 10l behind Violent Velocity (9-9) at Beverley 1m sell stks (6) gs in Apr.
Maggie Mey (IRE) 14-1 (8-13) Led, ridden and headed over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 9th of 12, 13l behind The Osteopath (9-6) at Thirsk 7f hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Apr.
Last Destination (IRE) 50-1 (8-7) Mid-division, pushed along and weakened over 2f out, 14th of 17, 20l behind Ted's Brother (9-1) at Doncaster 7f 3yo app hcp 0-75 (5) gd in Oct.
Cottam Donny 9-1 (8-8) Held up in touch, pushed along over 3f out, headway over 1f out, chased leading pair inside final furlong, no impression, 3rd of 16, 6l behind Zafranagar (9-1) at Doncaster 1m 2f app hcp 0-70 (5) gd in Mar.