A large pin and a blindfold could be effective tools for finding the winner of this ultra-competitive handicap. Northern stables are well represented with David Barron saddling three, including last month's Doncaster winner Colonel Mak, the same number as Richard Fahey. Kieren Fallon partners the potentially well-treated Victoire De Lyphar for Dandy Nicholls, who also has Jarrow in the line-up, while Keith Dalgleish fields Beverley second Doc Hay. Seal Rock has to go on the short-list as he won twice over the C&D last year and beat MIRZA by a length on his reappearance at Pontefract. But stall one may not be ideal and, on 3lb better terms, we are taking Rae Guest's improved sprinter to turn the tables and land this. Last year's Ayr Silver Cup winner Cheveton should improve for his fourth behind the selection at Newbury last month and can also play a part but Naas winner Maarek faces a stiff task at the weights The Confessor's victories have all come at a lower level.
Colonel Mak 33-1 (9-0) Chased leaders, ridden to lead over 1f out, ran on well, won at Doncaster 6f hcp 0-100 (2) gd in Apr beating Advanced (8-12) by 1 3/4l, 22 ran.
Maarek 11-4fav (10-0) Dwelt, towards rear, progress 2f out, challenged in 2nd over 1f out, soon led and stayed on well, won at Naas 6f hcp gd in Apr beating Gordon Lord Byron (9-5) by 1/2l, 11 ran.
Waffle (IRE) 11-2 (9-2) Settled in rear, headway when not clear run over 1f out, never on terms, 10th of 14, 8l behind The Cheka (9-2) at Doncaster 6f Listed stks 3yo (1) gd in Mar.
Seal Rock 9-2fav (9-3) Raced on inside, prominent, went 2nd inside final 2f, challenged over 1f out, ran on to lead final 120 yards, won at Pontefract 6f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Apr beating Mirza (9-5) by 1l, 17 ran.
Dungannon 20-1 (9-0) Mid-division stands side, outpaced over 1f out, ridden and weakened final furlong, 16th of 26, 13l behind Our Jonathan (9-6) at Ayr 6f hcp (2) sft in Sep.
Alben Star (IRE) 5-2 (9-0) Keen early, tracked leader, ridden 2f out, stayed on towards finish, 3rd of 7, 3/4l behind Primaeval (9-0) at Kempton 7f cnd stks (4yo+) (4) pol in Mar.
Mirza 5-1 (9-5) Raced in group of five on inside, with leader, led over 2f out, kept on well until headed and unable to quicken final 120 yards, 2nd of 17, 1l behind Seal Rock (9-3) at Pontefract 6f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Apr.
Whaileyy (IRE) 4-1fav (9-2) Tracked leader, ridden over 1f out, led inside final furlong, caught post, 2nd of 13, shd behind Alben Star (9-2) at Wolverhampton 6f hcp 0-100 (2) pol in Mar.
Khawatim (9-1) 10th of 13, 7l behind Star Dust Melody (8-8) at Longchamp(FR) 5f 3yo clm gd in Jun.
Victoire De Lyphar (IRE) 25-1 (9-7) Raced on outside, held up, never any chance, 9th of 17, 18l behind Seal Rock (9-3) at Pontefract 6f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Apr.
Doc Hay (USA) 15-2 (9-2) Towards rear, headway over 1f out, ridden entering final furlong, kept on to take 2nd inside final furlong, held towards finish, 2nd of 13, 1l behind Magical Macey (9-3) at Beverley 5f hcp 0-95 (3) sft in Apr.
Valery Borzov (IRE) 15-2 (9-0) Pushed along in rear, never dangerous, 12th of 13, 17l behind Magical Macey (9-3) at Beverley 5f hcp 0-95 (3) sft in Apr.
Bertiewhittle 13-2fav (9-1) Towards rear far side group, ridden and headway over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, 7th of 24, 3 1/2l behind Cheveton (8-11) at Ayr 6f hcp (2) sft in Sep.
Cheveton 13-2 (8-7) Fly leap start, close up, ridden 2f out, kept on one pace, 4th of 7, 3 1/2l behind Mirza (8-7) at Newbury 5f hcp (2) sft in Apr.
Parisian Pyramid (IRE) 15-2 (8-13) Led outside group throughout, ridden and not on terms 2f out, came clear of group over 1f out, never any chance with leaders on inside, 5th of 17, 7l behind Seal Rock (9-3) at Pontefract 6f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Apr.
Bathwick Bear (IRE) 9-1 (8-8) Led at steady pace, quickened halfway, headed 2f out, no chance with winner inside final furlong, kept on to hold 2nd, 2nd of 5, 2 3/4l behind New Planet (8-8) at Warwick 6f stks (3) sft in Apr.
Irish Heartbeat (IRE) 7-1fav (8-11) Mid-division, headway 2f out, kept on under pressure inside final furlong, finished well but not reach leaders, 4th of 19, 1l behind Secret Asset (9-4) at York 5f hcp 105 (2) gs in Aug.
Shropshire (IRE) 12-1 (8-7) Raced on outside, mid-division, ridden over 2f out, headway over 1f out, stayed on to 3rd that side close home, never any chance, 8th of 17, 17l behind Seal Rock (9-3) at Pontefract 6f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Apr.
The Confessor 7-2fav (9-2) Led, ridden 2f out, headed inside final furlong, lost 2nd post, 3rd of 12, 4l behind My Freedom (9-4) at Lingfield 7f hcp 0-95 (3) pol in Apr.
Fathsta (IRE) 8-1 (9-4) With leaders stand side group, ridden 2f out, no extra final furlong, 9th of 24, 5l behind Cheveton (8-11) at Ayr 6f hcp (2) sft in Sep.
Damika (IRE) 40-1 (8-9) Fly-leapt start, mid-division, one pace and no impression, 13th of 22, 7l behind Colonel Mak (9-0) at Doncaster 6f hcp 0-100 (2) gd in Apr.
Piscean (USA) 13-2 (9-3) Held up towards rear, good headway over 1f out, soon led, ran on, readily, won at Kempton 7f hcp 0-95 (3) pol in Mar beating Bravo Echo (9-7) by 1l, 13 ran.
Escape To Glory (USA) 6-1 (9-1) Behind, ridden and headway over 1f out, edged left entering final furlong, kept on towards finish, just held, 2nd of 14, shd behind Sugar Beet (9-7) at Windsor 5f hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Apr.
Victorian Bounty 16-1 (9-5) Outpaced in rear, headway over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, never going pace to get competive, 7th of 10, 4l behind Sugar Beet (9-5) at Kempton 5f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Dec.
King Of Eden (IRE) 20-1 (9-6) Tracked leaders, pushed along over 2f out, kept on same pace inside final furlong, 7th of 20, 4 1/2l behind Yair Hill (9-2) at Newmarket 7f hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Oct.
Jarrow (IRE) 6-1 (9-6) Held up mid-division, headway over 2f out, led over 1f out, stayed on well inside final furlong, won at Wolverhampton 6f hcp 0-80 (4) pol in Mar beating The Happy Hammer (8-9) by 4 1/2l, 9 ran.
Primo Lady 20-1 (9-2) Always in rear, weakened over 2f out, eased over 1f out, last of 10, 44l behind Eclipseoftheheart (8-13) at Kempton 7f fll hcp (4) pol in Sep.