A temporary respite from huge fields of handicappers but this is complicated by the presence of FRENCH NAVY, having his first start for Mahmood Al Zarooni. A Group 3 winner at Longchamp in September, he started favourite for the Group 1 Criterium at Saint-Cloud a month later but couldn't handle the heavy ground and hasn't been seen since. Godolphin also run Age Of Reason, who surely needs further, and the ex-Australian Caymans, who ran well at Meydan earlier this year but poorly on his UK debut at Windsor in June. Mahbooba adds further factors to the equation as Mike De Kock's filly, a Group 1 winner in her native South Africa, has her first start in this country after her exploits in Dubai where she landed the UAE 1000 Guineas, finished runner-up in the Oaks and third in the Derby. Joshua Tree, who won the Canadian International for Ballydoyle in October for which he is heavily penalised, has been racing in Qatar and returns to be trained by Marco Botti and might just need the run while Classic Punch, though certain to be fitter than most, might find the competition too hot.
Joshua Tree (IRE) (8-10) 4th of 16, 1 1/2l behind Beethoven (8-10) at Dohar(QA) 1m 3f stks gd in Jan.
Mahbooba (AUS) 9-2 (9-0) Tracked leader, ridden and every chance over 2f out, not quicken 1f out, 3rd of 14, 4l behind Khawlah (8-3) at Meydan(UAE) 1m 1f 3yo Grp 2 (1) in Mar.
Age of Reason (UAE) 12-1 (8-13) 9th of 11, 11l behind Whispering Gallery (8-13) at Meydan(UAE) 2m Grp 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Caymans (AUS) 16-1 (9-4) Chased leader until over 2f out, soon bumped and weakened, 6th of 7, 17l behind Nationalism (9-4) at Windsor 1m Listed stks 3yo (1) gd in Jun.
Classic Punch (IRE) 8-1 (9-11) Made all, clear over 4f out, eased inside final furlong, comfortable, won at Newmarket 1m 2f hcp 0-100 (2) gd beating Licence To Till (8-12) by 1 3/4l, 10 ran.
French Navy 2-1fav (8-13) Tracked leaders, one pace from entering straight, 5th of 10, 11l behind Roderic O'Connor (8-13) at Saint-Cloud(FR) 1m 2yo Grp 1 (1) sft in Oct.