Sumani beat Shirataki at Kempton in February before the latter caught his rivals napping and pinched a race at the same track last month. Both have turned in poor runs since, however, while the likes of Royal Defence and Dove Cottage produced their best efforts in lesser company last year and will find this tougher. Iron Condor looks high enough in the weights on his return to the Flat and a chance is taken on SWIFT BLADE. He's yet to win but Lady Herries' charge showed with placed efforts over shorter trips at Newbury and Salisbury last season that he's up to winning at this level and today's extra distance may also bring about improvement.
Iron Condor 4-1 (9-6) Slowly into stride, in rear, ridden over 2f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 6th of 9, 7l behind Becausewecan (9-10) at Kempton 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Sep.
Bussa 28-1 (9-0) Led 1f, tracked leader, lost place over 5f out, soon in rear, last of 8, 27l behind Archie Rice (9-0) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f app hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Dec.
Swift Blade (IRE) 10-1 (9-2) Slowly into stride, held up towards rear, ridden on outside over 2f out, head high and not run on, 9th of 13, 11l behind Doncosaque (8-13) at Windsor 1m hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Oct.
Shirataki (IRE) 5-2fav (9-1) Took keen hold, held up in 4th, effort 2f out, ridden over 1f out, weakened final furlong, last of 6, 10l behind Shalambar (9-1) at Kempton 1m 4f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Mar.
Sumani (FR) 9-2 (9-7) Led, ridden and headed 2f out, soon weakened, 7th of 10, 23l behind Frederick William (9-4) at Kempton 2m hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Mar.
Royal Defence (IRE) 11-2 (8-12) Chased leader, led 8f out, ridden over 2f out, headed inside final 2f, no chance with winner final furlong, lost 2nd post, 3rd of 9, 9l behind Warneford (9-3) at Leicester 1m 4f Classified Claiming Stakes (0-70) (3-5yo) (6) gd in Oct.
Dove Cottage (IRE) 9-1 (9-7) Prominent, led over 12f out, headed 4f out, weakened 2f out, 7th of 13, 23l behind Green Lightning (9-9) at Wolverhampton 1m 6f hcp (0-65) (6) pol in Sep.