This traditional old race has produced a strong line-up for a nice prize with most entering the fray in good shape. Mark Johnston is playing a powerful hand with a trio of entries headed by SPECIAL MEANING, who continues to defy the handicapper and can do so again. He gained the fourth victory in his last five starts when once again making all at Pontefract and though the assessor has hit him with a 9lb rise he had plenty in hand and can defy the extra. Nimiety and Federal Blue also represent the Middleham yard and the former arrives in very good shape having seen off the attentions of subsequent wide-margin winner Nautilus at Newmarket. Choisan would be a big threat if the rains arrive as he likes a bit of cut, as he showed at Ripon last time, while Cervati hasn't had much racing and is progressing nicely judged on his victory over this trip at Windsor. His 6lb penalty is almost wiped out by his rider's claim so he could be the one to chase home the selection.
Perennial 9-2 (9-7) Led and set steady pace, quickened over 2f out, edged left 2f out, ridden and headed over 1f out, weakened rapidly inside final furlong, 6th of 11, 9l behind Dark Ranger (8-9) at Kempton 2m hcp (0-90) (3) pol in Jul.
Noble Alan (GER) 9-2 (9-6) With leader, led over 3f out, headed over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, lost 2nd inside final furlong, no extra, 3rd of 8, 5l behind Party Line (9-1) at Musselburgh 1m 6f hcp 0-100 (2) gd.
Sirvino 12-1 (9-8) Held up, headway over 2f out, chased leader when hampered over 1f out, kept on one pace, 5th of 8, 4 1/2l behind Kiama Bay (9-1) at Pontefract 1m 4f hcp 0-95 (3) gd.
Fort Belvedere 9-1 (9-6) Held up in last pair, steady headway to 4th 7f out, went 3rd on outer 2f out, ridden to narrow lead inside final furlong, headed and not pace of winner close home, 2nd of 6, 3/4l behind Spirit Of The Law (8-13) at Ayr 1m 2f hcp 0-95 (3) gd.
War Poet 12-1 (10-0) Towards rear, headway on inner 3f out, soon tracked leaders, not clear run over 1f out, no impression final furlong, 5th of 11, 3 1/2l behind Elhaame (9-4) at Nottingham 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) gs.
Entihaa 9-2 (8-12) Held up towards rear, headway over 4f out, ridden over 2f out, weakened final furlong, 10th of 14, 33l behind O Ma Lad (9-4) at Hamilton 1m 5f hcp 0-90 (3) sft in May.
Choisan (IRE) 7-2fav (10-0) Led, headed 8f out, led again approaching 3f out, pressed inside final furlong, held on gamely, won at Ripon 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) gs beating Maybeme (9-3) by nk, 9 ran.
Hawdyerwheesht 12-1 (8-10) Held up mid-division, one pace from over 1f out, never dangerous, 5th of 8, 11l behind Party Line (9-1) at Musselburgh 1m 6f hcp 0-100 (2) gd.
Nimiety 9-2 (9-9) In touch, stayed stands' side, headway to lead overall 2f out, ridden and ran on, won at Newmarket 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) gf beating Nautilus (8-13) by 1 1/2l, 10 ran.
Special Meaning 10-11fav (9-6) Made all, shaken up over 1f out, stayed on strongly, won at Pontefract 1m 4f flls hcp 0-85 (4) gf in Jul beating Java Rose (9-11) by 4l, 5 ran.
Cosmic Halo 6-1 (9-5) Always towards rear, 9th of 10, 14l behind Remix (8-7) at Doncaster 1m 2f app hcp (5) gf.
Tenhoo 16-1 (9-3) In touch, ridden and stayed on same pace in 4th 2f out, weakened and dropped to 5th final furlong, 5th of 9, 12l behind Lemon Pearl (9-0) at Chester 1m 5f hcp 0-80 (4) gs.
Cosmic Sun 12-1 (9-3) Towards rear, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, 7th of 9, 15l behind Wadaa (8-8) at Carlisle 1m 3f hcp 0-85 (4) sft in Jul.
Certavi (IRE) 3-1 (9-2) Held up in last trio, headway over 2f out, chased leaders over 1f out, pushed along to lead inside final furlong, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Windsor 1m 4f hcp 0-70 (5) gf beating Mont Blanc (9-7) by 1l, 9 ran.
Federal Blue (USA) 33-1 (9-0) Raced wide towards rear, plugged on inside final furlong, never a threat, 7th of 10, 5l behind Royal Skies (10-0) at Ascot 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gd.