If fast ground remains, LADY HESTIA will be hard to beat though Bergonzi and General Ting have cogent cases to do so. Marcus Tregoning's filly was gifted a race at Bath when allowed to come off a strong gallop and with the likelihood of the same scenario occurring here, we are prepared to row in on the proviso that the ground is on the fast side. Howard Johnson's National Hunt team have carried all before them this week so expect a bold run from Bergonzi. He has found life tough in better races but this is a drop down in his sights having taken on solid handicappers. General Ting probably did not stay two miles at Newbury so this drop back to 1m6f seems to be entirely correct. Bollin Judith represents the connections that won this race last year. She has not quite lived up to the abilities of her parents though does stay this trip. Dramatic Solo is 2lb higher than his last winning mark and while that does not sound a great deal, the handicapper has had plenty of chance to check his sums. Musselburgh specialist, Ifatfirst, seems to need fast going to operate at his optimum. Drop The Hammer has no weight though has to overcome two very moderate efforts in the last two racecourse visits. Lady Hestia is our recommendation.
Bergonzi (IRE) 25-1 (8-3) Soon pressing leader, led 14f out, headed over 8f out, led again over 3f out, headed well over 2f out, soon beaten, 6th of 15, 8l behind Swingkeel (9-2) at York 2m hcp 0-95 (3) gf in Aug.
General Ting (IRE) 9-2 (9-9) In touch, pushed along 3f out, soon weakened, tailed off, last of 8, 42l behind Arab League (8-11) at Newbury 2m app hcp 0-75 (5) gd.
Lady Hestia (USA) 6-4fav (10-0) Tracked leader, led 2f out, clear final furlong, pushed out, won at Bath 2m 1f hcp 0-75 (5) fm in Sep beating Fin Vin De Leu (9-13) by 2 1/4l, 4 ran.
Dramatic Solo 11-4fav (9-5) Led, raced keenly, ridden and headed 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 3rd of 7, 8l behind Ifatfirst (9-2) at Musselburgh 1m 6f hcp 0-75 (5) gd in Sep.
Ifatfirst (IRE) 9-1 (9-2) Held up mid-division, headway to chase leaders halfway, effort over 1f out, soon one pace, 3rd of 7, 6l behind Ascendant (9-12) at Musselburgh 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Sep.
Abstract Folly (IRE) 8-1 (8-9) Held up towards rear, some headway over 1f out, never nearer, 4th of 7, 9l behind Ascendant (9-12) at Musselburgh 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Sep.
Royal Flynn 25-1 (9-11) Held up towards rear, ridden over 2f out, kept on from over 1f out, no impression, 7th of 13, 5l behind Nakoma (10-1) at Newcastle 1m 4f am hcp (6) gs.
Summercove (IRE) 12-1 (8-11) Prominent, 2nd under 4f out, no extra from 3f out, 10th of 16, 19l behind Frutti Tutti (9-12) at Ballinrobe 1m 6f hcp 47-65 in Sep.
Bollin Judith 7-1 (8-7) Tracked leaders, ridden over 1f out, chased winner inside final furlong, no impression, 2nd of 8, 3l behind Veiled (9-7) at Redcar 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Sep.
Drop The Hammer 8-1 (8-9) Held up mid-division, pushed along over 4f out, weakened over 1f out, last of 8, well behind Twist Again (9-7) at Newcastle 2m hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Sep.