BYRD IN HAND improved over the winter and his three good efforts this year culminated in a win over a mile at Goodwood last time. He went close over C&D in April and can follow up off only a 3lb higher mark with Richard Hughes keeping the winning partnership intact. Doubts surround his chief rivals here as On The Feather is still a maiden and Striding Edge has proved frustrating to follow recently. Archie Rice has been below his best since returning from hurdling and Count Ceprano makes his comeback off a 10lb higher mark than when completing last season's hat trick.
Archie Rice (USA) 10-1 (9-0) Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, soon weakened, 10th of 12, 21l behind Rock The Stars (9-2) at Sandown 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) gd in May.
Count Ceprano (IRE) 5-1 (9-1) Held up in 6th, outpaced and no chance final 2f, 7th of 8, 19l behind Mistoffelees (9-3) at Doncaster 1m 2f app hcp (5) gd in Aug.
Striding Edge (IRE) 5-1 (9-3) Tracked leaders, ridden 3f out, driven to challenge over 1f out, kept on same pace inside final furlong, 3rd of 6, 3l behind Zafranagar (8-8) at Leicester 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) gd in May.
Recalcitrant 14-1 (9-1) Led 1f, with leader after, every chance over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 7th of 12, 8l behind Kilburn (9-5) at Lingfield 1m hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Oct.
On The Feather 10-1 (9-0) In touch, headway on inside 2f out, chased winner well over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, always held, 2nd of 8, 3/4l behind Danvilla (9-4) at Kempton 1m 4f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in May.
The Blue Dog (IRE) 25-1 (8-4) Tracked leader, ridden 3f out, weakened 1f out, last of 7, 16l behind Piano (9-7) at Yarmouth 1m 2f flls hcp 0-80 (4) gf in May.
Bell's Ocean (USA) 33-1 (9-4) Slowly into stride, towards rear, plugged on one pace final 2f, never going pace to threaten leaders, 6th of 13, 5l behind Blue Noodles (8-5) at Kempton 1m clm stks (0-65) (6) pol in Sep.
Mister Frosty (IRE) 8-1 (9-7) Tracked leaders, not much room after 2f, ridden 4f out, weakened over 1f out, 8th of 11, 11l behind Irish Jugger (8-13) at Southwell 1m 4f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs in Feb.
Byrd In Hand (IRE) 9-2 (8-12) Chased leaders, effort over 1f out, ran on to lead inside final furlong, ridden out, won at Goodwood 1m hcp 0-65 (6) gf in May beating Catchanova (9-4) by 3/4l, 10 ran.