Willow's Saviour was impressive when landing a bit of a gamble at Ascot last Saturday but that was over an extra half-mile and he now has to carry a penalty in a much stronger heat. Course winner Nine Stories and Population could both figure at the weights if fully wound-up but Smart Ruler, Easy Reach and Dhaular Dhar are all racing from out of the handicap while Discovery Bay doesn't look particularly well treated and showed little on the Flat last month. SAINT THOMAS steps out of novice company for the first time but looks a progressive sort and the good ground is in his favour. He gets the nod ahead of the trail-blazing Australia Day and Solaras Exhibition with Runswick Royal carrying a lot of weight for a four-year-old.
Runswick Royal (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, in rear from 4th, headway after 2 out, went 2nd run-in, kept on and held by winner, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind L'unique (10-7) at Aintree 2m 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Apr.
Australia Day (IRE) 14-1 (11-8) Led, headed after 3 out, weakened before 2 out, 7th of 14, 20l behind Sea Lord (11-1) at Market Rasen 2m 1f Listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Jul.
Solaras Exhibition (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, outpaced approaching 3 out, soon beaten, tailed off, 10th of 11, well behind Ahyaknowyerself (11-4) at Market Rasen 2m 1f Listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Sep.
Nine Stories (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Held up off the pace, steady headway 3 out, went 3rd 2 out, driven to challenge last, led flat, driven out, won at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Nov '12 beating Smart Ruler (10-1) by 1 1/2l, 9 ran.
Discovery Bay 2-5fav (11-5) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 2 out, challenged last, soon led going best, ridden after home bend, edged right towards finish, headed close home, 2nd of 5, 3/4l behind Things Change (10-12) at Cartmel 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) sft in May.
Saint Thomas (IRE) 5-4fav (11-5) Made all, driven clear approaching last, ridden out flat, won at Sedgefield 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Oct beating Wakanda (11-5) by 4l, 9 ran.
Population 5-2 (11-2) Held up in mid-division, pushed along after 6th, headway after 3 out, went 2nd before next until last, soon switched left, no impression, one pace, 3rd of 10, 7l behind Le Reve (11-2) at Market Rasen 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) sft in Feb.
Willow's Saviour 9-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 6th, led before 2 out, driven clear between last 2, heavily eased run-in, impressive, won at Ascot 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs beating Coup De Grace (10-5) by 8l, 15 ran.
Smart Ruler (IRE) 6-4fav (11-12) Tracked leader until after 3rd, chased winner before 2 out, kept on and no impression before last, 2nd of 6, 7l behind It's A Mans World (10-12) at Perth 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Sep.
Easy Reach (IRE) 6-1fav (11-7) Mid-division, ridden 5 out, behind when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Credit Box (10-9) at Ballinrobe 2m 4f hcp hdl 80-109 sft in Sep '12, 16 ran.
Dhaular Dhar (IRE) 12-1 (10-13) Held up in rear, effort before 2 out, no impression, 3rd of 9, 22l behind Cool Baranca (10-10) at Perth 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Sep.