With plenty of pace on perhaps REDFORD can finally land a big prize at the chief expense of Tax Free and Barney McGrew. Kevin Ryan's charge has his second run for the yard having taken fourth at Wolverhampton last time, a performance that will hopefully have him cherry-ripe for this task. He's only had two chances to run over six furlongs, with wins coming over seven and a mile, but this strong-travelling sort has always looked the type to be suited by a strongly run six furlongs and he'll get that today. Tax Free is the class act of the race and must be respected. He's won better races than this over the years and a rating of 112 should make him very hard to beat, with no concerns over conditions nor fitness as he has won fresh. That said, there's plenty of pace on here and if Francis Norton gets involved in that battle it may hinder this horse's prospects and we'll just oppose him with that in mind. Barney McGrew, like Redford, should be suited by the likely gallop. After a few near-misses, Michael Dods' gelding landed a fiercely competitive handicap at York last season in the manner of a horse who can hold his own at this level. Conditions will be fine as he has form on both good and soft ground, but this is a horse who tends to need his first run of the season so we're prepared to take him on this time. Prime Defender has his conditions and has often looked a group horse but recent efforts have been poor and he's best watched, while Inxile is surely a doubtful stayer in such a big field, especially with some cut in the ground likely. Fullandby ended last season on a high and is a six furlong specialist but he shoulders a penalty and can be left out for that reason, with Able Master likely to reverse previous form with him this time. Even so, Jeremy Gask's runner may come up short along with Arthur's Edge who is improving but faces his toughest task to date. Evens And Odds goes well fresh but has a rather in and out profile and the stable have more likely types running, Star Rover is a real speedball who may be found wanting late on and Swiss Franc may just be better on artificial surfaces. This is another contributor to a cracking return to flat racing and the prize can go to Redford and Kevin Ryan.
Fullandby (IRE) 8-1 (9-4) Went left start, in rear, never nearer, 8th of 12, 7l behind Jaconet (8-11) at Lingfield 6f listed stks (1) pol in Nov.
Inxile (IRE) 7-1 (9-3) Headway on outer to track leaders over 3f out, chased leader until entering final furlong, lost 3rd post, 4th of 10, 1 1/4l behind Arganil (9-3) at Lingfield 5f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) pol.
Able Master (IRE) 9-2fav (9-3) Tracked leaders, ridden over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, 5th of 12, 2 1/4l behind Fullandby (9-3) at Doncaster 6f Listed stks (1) sft in Nov.
Arthur's Edge 9-1 (9-2) Chased leaders, ridden to lead 1f out, ran on, won at Southwell 5f hcp 0-95 (3) std beating Onceaponatime (8-7) by 1 3/4l, 13 ran.
Barney McGrew (IRE) 12-1 (9-1) 7th of 12, 7l behind Judd Street (9-1) at Meydan(UAE) 6f cond Stakes gf.
Damien (IRE) 16-1 (9-6) Held up, ridden and some headway over 1f out, weakened final furlong, 15th of 19, 6l behind Total Gallery (9-7) at Newmarket 6f 3yo hcp 0-105 (2) gd in Jul.
Evens And Odds (IRE) 7-1fav (9-4) Chased leaders far side group, every chance entering final furlong, no extra towards finish, 4th of 26, 1 1/2l behind Jimmy Styles (9-2) at Ayr 6f hcp (2) gd in Sep.
Fitz Flyer (IRE) 6-1 (9-10) Slightly hampered start, chased leaders, outpaced 3f out, soon ridden, stayed on under pressure final furlong, 3rd of 8, 2 3/4l behind Rebel Duke (8-8) at Southwell 5f hcp 0-100 (2) fbs in Jan.
Prime Defender 14-1 (9-4) 9th of 12, 6l behind Alazeyab (9-2) at Meydan(UAE) 6f hcap.
Redford (IRE) 7-2 (9-3) Held up in rear, headway over 1f out, never on terms, 4th of 11, 1 1/2l behind Dunelight (9-3) at Wolverhampton 7f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) pol.
Swiss Franc 12-1 (9-0) Led, ridden and headed 2f out, no extra, lost 3rd inside final furlong, 4th of 7, 2 3/4l behind Matsunosuke (9-0) at Lingfield 6f Listed stks (1) pol in Feb '09.
Tax Free (IRE) 8-1 (9-10) 7th of 16, 2 1/2l behind Total Gallery (9-10) at Longchamp(FR) 5f Grp 1 gd in Oct.
Isabella Grey 20-1 (8-8) Took keen hold, tracked leaders, 4th straight, ridden and weakened over 2f out, 8th of 9, 13l behind Ocean's Minstrel (9-3) at Epsom Downs 7f 3yo lst stk (1) gd in Jun.
Pusey Street Lady 12-1 (8-13) Tracked leader until 2f out, weakened quickly final furlong, 10th of 11, 12l behind Damaniyat Girl (8-12) at Newmarket 6f fll lst stks (1) gd in Oct.
Star Rover (IRE) 18-1 (9-0) Mid-division, headway final furlong, never nearer, 7th of 17, 3 1/2l behind Our Jonathan (9-0) at Ascot 5f 2yo Grp 3 (1) gs in Oct.