Barry Hills had an excellent record in this race and son Charlie should have a good idea of what's needed. SEQUOIA finished fourth on both starts over 6f last July and the extra furlong will suit on his return. Born To Surprise was a promising runner-up over today's trip at Warwick on his debut and Highland Duke is expected to improve on his introduction at Newbury in September. Nordic Quest showed a bit more at Wolverhampton in November, while the newcomer Mutafaakir is a half-brother to a couple of winners and is worth a second glance in the betting.
Born To Surprise 7-2 (9-0) Slowly away, held up in rear, headway centre 2f out, stayed on to 2nd inside final furlong, no chance with winner, 2nd of 8, 2 3/4l behind Famous Poet (9-0) at Warwick 7f 2yo mdn (5) gf in Sep.
Chester Aristocrat 33-1 (8-11) Tracked leaders, ridden over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 7th of 13, 12l behind Evervescent (8-9) at Haydock 6f 2yo mdn aut (5) gd in May.
Common Cents Pivotal gelding out of Small Change.
Highland Duke (IRE) 16-1 (9-3) Chased leaders, pushed along inside final 3f, stayed on same pace final 2f, 8th of 15, 7l behind Mighty Ambition (9-3) at Newbury 7f 2yo mdn (4) gd in Sep.
Icewan Iceman gelding out of Royal Nashkova.
Malingering Bahamian Bounty colt out of Orange Lily.
Mutafaakir (IRE) Oasis Dream colt out of Moon's Whisper.
Nordic Quest (IRE) 18-1 (9-3) Soon in mid-division, headway on outside 2f out, kept on to 4th inside final furlong, 4th of 11, 4 1/2l behind Lycidas (9-3) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Nov.
Penang Pegasus 8-1 (9-3) Dwelt in rear, headway to chase leaders over 3f out, ridden and weakened over 1f out, 8th of 10, 21l behind Gold Rally (9-3) at Haydock 1m 2yo mdn (5) hvy in Oct.
Sequoia 7-2 (9-0) Prominent, led 3f out, ridden and headed inside final furlong, no extra towards finish, 4th of 12, 3 1/2l behind Moustache (9-0) at Goodwood 6f 2yo mdn (2) gd in Jul.
Star Date (IRE) 9-2 (9-3) Held up behind, pushed along over 3f out, never dangerous, 7th of 8, 14l behind Choisan (9-3) at Musselburgh 1m 2yo mdn (4) gd in Oct.
Take Two 8-1 (9-3) Keen close up, chased winner 3f out until approaching final furlong, no extra final furlong, 4th of 12, 11l behind Trader Jack (9-3) at Ffos Las 1m 2yo mdn aut (5) sft in Nov.
Vite (IRE) 33-1 (9-3) Mid-division, ridden over 2f out, weakened entering final furlong, 7th of 12, 16l behind Starboard (9-3) at Redcar 7f 2yo mdn (5) gd in Nov.
So Cheeky 16-1 (8-12) Held up towards rear, hard driven over 2f out, never a factor, 10th of 12, 18l behind Bronze Angel (9-3) at Lingfield 7f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Dec.