Castle Combe is up only 3lb for winning at Lingfield and should be in the mix once again. Hedge End can also be given a chance despite disappointing over 7f last time as she won over track and trip in October. Firtyshadesfreed had Mersad back in third when winning a lower grade contest here a fortnight ago, but the likes of Captain Swift and Shore Patrol may improve past him. However, another handicap debutant in IRISH TEARS makes most appeal, as John Gosden's colt will appreciate the step up in trip and has decent claims on earlier third at Sandown.
Castle Combe (IRE) 9-2 (9-4) Keen, tracked leaders, went 2nd 5f out, ridden 2f out, led inside final furlong, driven out, won at Lingfield 1m 2yo hco 0-75 (5) pol in Nov beating Elysian Prince (9-7) by nk, 6 ran.
Hedge End (IRE) 8-1 (9-6) Led after 1f, headed 2f out, soon ridden, weakened final furlong, 8th of 13, 6l behind Zugzwang (9-1) at Lingfield 7f 2yo hco 0-75 (5) pol in Nov.
Captain Swift (IRE) 8-1 (9-3) Mid-division, outpaced over 2f out, ran on inside final furlong, never nearer, 6th of 13, 3 1/2l behind Zugzwang (9-1) at Lingfield 7f 2yo hco 0-75 (5) pol in Nov.
Irish Tears 7-2fav (9-5) Led, ridden and headed 2f out, weakened final furlong, 10th of 13, 10l behind Tree Of Grace (9-5) at Lingfield 7f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Oct.
Fiftyshadesfreed (IRE) 11-4 (9-6) Chased leaders, went 2nd over 2f out, driven over 1f out, closed to lead final 100 yards, won at Kempton 7f 2yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Nov beating Drinkuptrig (9-3) by 1l, 8 ran.
Shore Patrol (IRE) 7-1 (9-5) Took keen hold, chased leaders, pushed along well over 2f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 4th of 8, 8l behind Orange Grove (8-12) at Wolverhampton 7f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Nov.
Aspirant 5-1fav (8-9) Steadied and switched left start, took keen hold, held up towards rear, headway over 1f out, ridden approaching furlong, stayed on same pace inside final furlong, 5th of 10, 3l behind Sahra Al Khadra (8-7) at Warwick 7f 2yo hcp 0-85 (4) gf in Oct.
Mersad (IRE) 4-1 (9-7) Took keen hold and held up in last pair, driven and headway on outside over 1f out, went 3rd inside final furlong, soon edged right, stayed on, never nearer, 3rd of 8, 1 1/4l behind Fiftyshadesfreed (9-6) at Kempton 7f 2yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Nov.