Ladies Are Forever returned from a similar-length absence to win this last year but could have been better drawn this time round. TAROOQ makes more appeal given his yard has won two of the last four renewals and he arrives on the back of winning a competitive handicap over track and trip. He beat Hawkeyethenoo on that occasion with Hoof It, Forest Edge and Ballista further behind and also makes more appeal than stablemate Hitchens, well beaten in Dubai last month. Rivellino had Iptisam and Nocturn behind over course and distance a fortnight ago but the latter may well reverse running on better terms today. Rummaging found Forest Edge a couple of lengths too good at Kempton on a recent raid over from Ireland but has even more to find with the selection on that form.
Hitchens (IRE) 25-1 (9-5) last of 16, 10l behind Alsaaeqah (9-2) at Meydan(UAE) 5f hcp gd in Jan.
Ballista (IRE) 7-2 (9-2) Tracked leaders, under pressure over 2f out, stayed on well inside final furlong, never able to challenge, 3rd of 6, 2 3/4l behind Forest Edge (9-2) at Kempton 6f cnd stks (4yo+) (2) pol in Jan.
Bravo Echo 33-1 (9-0) Led early, chased leader, pushed along 2f out, soon lost 2nd, ridden and weakened inside final furlong, 12th of 13, 6l behind Alfred Hutchinson (9-1) at Lingfield 7f hcap (2) pol in Jan.
Forest Edge (IRE) 7-1 (9-10) Held up towards rear, headway on outside over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, not reach leaders, 7th of 12, 2 3/4l behind Even Stevens (9-4) at Wolverhampton 5f hcap (2) pol.
Hawkeyethenoo (IRE) 11-4fav (9-10) Slowly into stride, held up towards rear, last pair and plenty to do 2f out, not clearest of runs over 1f out, soon switched left to inside, ridden and strong run inside final furlong, finished well and almost snatched 3rd, 4th of 13, 1 3/4l behind Alfred Hutchinson (9-1) at Lingfield 7f hcap (2) pol in Jan.
Hoof It 4-1 (9-10) Led early, tracked leaders, ridden 2f out, faded inside final furlong, 5th of 12, 3l behind Tarooq (9-2) at Lingfield 6f hcp (2) pol in Dec.
Iptisam 5-1 (8-12) Led, ridden 2f out, headed and no extra inside final furlong, 5th of 12, 3l behind Rivellino (9-1) at Lingfield 6f hcap (2) pol.
Ladies Are Forever 20-1 (9-7) 7th of 20, 2 3/4l behind Maarek (9-10) at Longchamp(FR) 5f Grp 1 (1) sft in Oct.
Nocturn 6-1 (9-7) Tracked leader, ridden 2f out, weakened final furlong, 9th of 12, 6l behind Rivellino (9-1) at Lingfield 6f hcap (2) pol.
Rivellino 8-1 (9-1) Tracked leaders, ridden 2f out, stayed on strongly to lead final strides, won at Lingfield 6f hcap (2) pol beating Alben Star (9-1) by nk, 12 ran.
Rummaging (IRE) 7-2 (8-13) Chased leaders, effort over 1f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 2nd of 6, 2 1/2l behind Forest Edge (9-2) at Kempton 6f cnd stks (4yo+) (2) pol in Jan.
Tarooq (USA) 7-1 (9-2) Held up, headway on inner 2f out, led entering final furlong, ridden and ran on (course record), won at Lingfield 6f hcp (2) pol in Dec beating Hawkeyethenoo (9-5) by 1 1/2l, 12 ran.