Keene scored over a shorter trip at Wolverhampton last time and is not certain to stay 1m4f. But it's no problem for Mick Duggan, who went close at the same track recently. Royal Marskell was only beaten a head in an amateurs' race here last month, though ECHO BRAVA looks to have the stronger form. He finished a close-up third in a higher grade handicap over course and distance a fortnight ago and can come out best in this with a similar effort. Mcbirney is back on a winning mark and is not out of this despite carrying top weight.
Mcbirney (USA) 10-1 (8-10) Dwelt, in rear, ridden over 4f out, headed 2f out, no impression inside final furlong, 4th of 12, 2 3/4l behind Gaelic Silver (9-4) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Nov.
Special Mix 50-1 (9-10) Slowly away, headway on outer to track leaders over 8f out, went 2nd 7f out, ridden to challenge 2f out, kept on same pace inside final furlong, 5th of 11, 2 1/2l behind Lady Lunchalot (9-6) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp (0-65) (6) pol in Nov.
Royal Marskell 7-1 (11-0) Held up, headway to track leaders halfway, ridden 2f out, stayed on to go 2nd near finish, 2nd of 16, hd behind Linkable (10-9) at Lingfield 1m 4f amat hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Nov.
Mick Duggan 11-4fav (9-1) Chased leaders, driven to challenge over 2f out, every chance over 1f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 2nd of 7, 3/4l behind St Ignatius (9-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Nov.
Keene 3-1fav (8-9) Prominent, pushed along halfway, ridden to challenge over 1f out, led inside final furlong, kept on well, won at Wolverhampton 1m 1f app hcp 0-70 (5) pol beating Icy Blue (8-8) by nk, 7 ran.
Echo Brava 10-1 (8-7) Held up in touch, chased winner 2f out, ridden inside final furlong, lost 2nd place close home, 3rd of 11, 1 3/4l behind Mallory Heights (9-3) at Lingfield 1m 4f hcp 0-80 (4) pol.
Cabuchon (GER) 9-2 (10-1) In touch, not clear run entering final 3f, switched left and effort over 1f out, no impression final furlong, 6th of 12, 10l behind Royal Trooper (10-3) at Wolverhampton 1m 6f amat hcp 0-65 (6) pol.
Celtic Charlie (FR) 14-1 (9-5) Towards rear, headway over 2f out, driven to chase leaders over 1f out, soon ridden, went 3rd inside final furlong, not reach front pair, 3rd of 14, 3 1/2l behind This Is Me (9-5) at Kempton 1m 4f hcp (6) pol.