RUFF DIAMOND is progressing all the time and gets the nod over Nine Stories and London Times. Alan King's progressive gelding comes here on the back of a facile win at Newton Abbott when he disposed of his rivals with little fuss. His jumping seems to be improving with each race and with this track likely to play into his strong-staying hoofs, he can carry his double penalty to victory. Also shouldering extra weight are Simarian and Tobago Bay, both of whom are closely rated; both look up against it taking on a higher class of opposition. That includes Nine Stories who ruthlessly disposed of Rory Boy last time at Perth and looks a fine recruit to this sphere; his trainer is in fine fettle at present. Rory Boy is now 7lbs better off but that may not be enough. The most interesting newcomers are Amerigo (second in Queen's Vase and rated highly) and London Times (not as highly rated but has joined a canny yard who won the race last year). A thrilling little race, with the improving Ruff Diamond taken to put in a more polished performance.
Ruff Diamond (USA) 2-1jt-fav (11-5) Chased leader, shaken up to lead 3 out, drew clear from 2 out, easily, won at N Abbot 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (4) gd in Aug beating Bathwick Man (11-2) by 17l, 8 ran.
Simarian (IRE) 9-2 (11-6) Led to before 2 out, soon ridden and one pace, 4th of 12, 7l behind Indian Groom (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (2) gd in Sept.
Tobago Bay 10-1 (11-12) Led, jumped right and mistake 3rd, jumped right 5th, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, 3rd and beaten when mistake last, weakened flat, 3rd of 16, 7l behind Duke of Touraine (10-12) at Stratford 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) gd in Jul.
Dontpaytheferryman (USA) 14-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, held up in rear, headway after 4th, led before 3 out, clear when hit 2 out, not fluent last, easily, won at Huntingdon 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gs beating Ovthenight (10-12) by 3l, 12 ran.
Morestead (IRE) 8-1 (10-12) Made all, jumped left from 3 out, driven out, won at Fontwell 2m 2f 3yo mdn hdl (5) gf beating Potemkin (10-12) by 4l, 8 ran.
Nine Stories (IRE) 15-8 (10-12) Held up, headway 3 out, led between last 2, clear when jumped right last, pushed out comfortably, won at Perth 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gs in Sept beating Rory Boy (11-5) by 11l, 6 ran.
Rory Boy (USA) Evensfav (11-5) Tracked leaders, led 3 out, ridden and headed between last 2, kept on same pace, no chance with winner, 2nd of 6, 11l behind Nine Stories (10-12) at Perth 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gs in Sept.
Amerigo (IRE) 14-1 (9-1) Always prominent, driven and stayed on inside final furlong, took 2nd on line, no chance with impressive winner, 2nd of 12, 7l behind Patkai (9-1) at Ascot 2m 3yo Grp 3 (1) frm in Jun (Flat).
Festival Dreams 50-1 (10-12) Prominent, chased leader after 4th, ridden approaching 3 out, no impression when hit 2 out, 2nd of 9, 11l behind Just Mossie (10-5) at N Abbot 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (4) gf in Jul.
London Times (IRE) 9-1 (9-5) Chased leader, pushed along 4f out, still challenging over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 5th of 6, 10l behind Sweet Lightning (9-9) at Chester 1m 4f 3yo hcp (4) gd in Jun (Flat).
Love And Glory (FR) 9-2 (9-0) Held up, effort on outside when carried left from 2f out, no chance after, 4th of 7, 10l behind Pocketwood (9-11) at Folkestone 1m 4f hcp 0-70 (5) sft (Flat).
Zen Factor 14-1 (9-4) Prominent, led after 2f, ridden and headed 3f out, weakened 2f out, 8th of 14, 17l behind Any Given Day (9-3) at Salisbury 1m 4f 3yo hcp (6) gf in May (Flat).