EL DIEGO can continue his progression up the ranks with Shady Gloom and Shanafarahan others for the shortlist. The selection is better known around Southwell than here at Kempton but as he has shown a tendency to hang right in his races, the switch in direction should realistically not be a problem. Steve Drowne takes the ride for the first time. Shady Gloom looked in need of the outing at Doncaster last month. There should be more to come for that experience. Shanafarahan was well held at Folkestone last week. Nevertheless, he had won three times on artificial surfaces in his last three starts. Sahrati has taken on much better opposition than this in the past though his all-weather record is 0 from 6. Haarth Sovereign has won over 1m2f at this venue and could be capable of going close over this extra two furlongs. Star Choice is a fairly consistent creature who can be relied upon to run up to his mark. El Diego is not without his quirks but he appears capable of further improvement and he therefore secures the nod.
El Diego (IRE) 4-1 (9-5) Prominent, ridden along over 3f out, led over 1f out, edged left, kept on final furlong, headed close home, 2nd of 9, hd behind Aureate (9-6) at Southwell 1m 6f hcap (4) fbs in Jan.
Shady Gloom (IRE) 10-1 (8-12) Prominent and keen, driven and weakened over 1f out, 10th of 19, 20l behind Spring Jim (8-9) at Doncaster 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) gf in Mar.
Bassinet (USA) 8-1 (8-6) Held up in last place, ridden 2f out, no impression, last of 8, 5l behind Sgt Schultz (9-6) at Lingfield 1m 4f hcp 0-95 (3) pol in Mar.
Haarth Sovereign (IRE) 16-1 (9-6) Held up mid-division, ridden along and headway over 2f out, one pace final furlong, 7th of 20, 9l behind Wells Lyrical (9-3) at Doncaster 1m 7f hcap (4) gd in Oct.
Red Merlin (IRE) 5-4fav (9-1) Held up in 6th, headway going well 2f out, chased leader over 1f out, led inside final furlong, ridden and in command when hung left well inside final furlong, won at Goodwood 1m 4f 3yo hcp (5) gs in Oct beating Blue Citadel (8-9) by 2l, 7 ran.
Ruff Diamond (USA) 9-2 (8-11) Steadied start, soon led and set no pace, ridden 2f out, one pace final furlong, 3rd of 6, 2 3/4l behind Royal Amnesty (8-13) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Mar.
Sahrati 25-1 (8-10) Prominent, under pressure 3f out, weakened approaching final furlong, 7th of 12, 4 1/2l behind Night Crescendo (8-10) at Ascot 1m 4f hcap (2) gd in Sep.
Shanafarahan (IRE) 4-1fav (9-5) Led 10f out, ridden and pressed from over 2f out, headed inside final furlong, weakened towards finish, 8th of 14, 4l behind Barbirolli (8-8) at Folkestone 1m 4f app hcp 0-60 (6) gf.
Star Choice 7-2 (9-3) Tracked leaders in 4th, went 2nd over 3f out, every chance when edged left over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong but always held, 2nd of 7, 1/2l behind Moonshine Creek (8-10) at Brighton 1m 4f hcp 0-70 (5) gd.