Gran Maestro attempts to follow up his win in last year's contest but pickings have been slim for the followers of Ruth Carr's gelding in the interim and the visor is reached for in an attempt to halt a long losing run. Polar Forest is sure to have his supporters having won recently at Newcastle but a 6lb penalty might be enough to stop him so we will side with LORD FRANKLIN. Eric Alston's five-year-old has been consistent at this level and was a winner over C&D seven days ago. A previous winner on soft going, his rider takes off a valuable 3lb. Poor Duke has his first run for Mick Mullineaux having been bought out of a Wolverhampton seller for 6000gns. He is probably best watched tonight as he was well held on his only previous experience of testing conditions.
Lord Franklin 85-40fav (9-1) Tracked leader, pushed along over 3f out, ridden over 2f out, kept on to lead towards finish, won at Haydock 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) gd beating Hussar Ballad (8-12) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Gala Casino Star (IRE) 20-1 (8-9) Tracked leader, ridden over 2f out, weakened final furlong, 6th of 10, 5l behind Border Bandit (8-8) at Pontefract 1m hcp 0-75 (5) gs.
Gran Maestro (USA) 9-4 (9-7) Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, no extra when not much room inside final furlong, 3rd of 4, 2 3/4l behind Incendo (8-13) at Catterick 1m 4f (6) gs.
Poor Duke (IRE) 9-1 (9-8) Soon tracking leader, led over 2f out, clear over 1f out, stayed on, won at Wolverhampton 1m 1f sel stks 0-65 (6) pol in Apr beating One Scoop Or Two (9-3) by 3l, 8 ran.
Thecornishcowboy 8-1 (8-5) Held up in rear, steady headway on outside over 3f out, tracked leaders 3f out, went 2nd 2f out, no chance with winner when lost 2nd approaching final furlong, held on for 3rd, 3rd of 7, 8l behind Nullarbor Sky (9-2) at Yarmouth 1m 3f hcp 0-75 (5) gf.
Polar Forest 6-4fav (9-2) Mid-division, headway over 1f out, driven to lead inside final furlong, ran on strongly, won at Newcastle 1m hcp 0-60 (6) gd beating Shearian (9-7) by 4 1/2l, 11 ran.
Jordaura 50-1 (8-10) Chased leaders, lost place over 6f out, behind over 3f out, tailed off, last of 7, 40l behind Ever Fortune (8-13) at Pontefract 1m 2f app hcp (5) gd in Apr.