There may only be five runners for this Grade 1 contest but it's a fascinating race nevertheless. Red Merlin was a decent middle-distance handicapper on the Flat but may struggle to overturn Newbury running with Minella Class, who will also be suited by today's easier ground. Trail-blazer Act Of Kalanisi may be vulnerable again at this level but Megastar is a tough novice who lost nothing in defeat when second to Rock On Ruby at Newbury. But Paul Nicholls should know where he stands with TOUBAB on a line through that winner and the French import is taken to add to his win at Haydock in November.
Act Of Kalanisi (IRE) 7-1 (11-7) Raced in 6th, 3rd after 4 out until ridden before next, weakened soon after, 7th of 8, well behind Backspin (11-7) at Newbury 2m 5f nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Dec.
Megastar 2-1 (11-5) Held up in 7th, modest 2nd as field came into view final 110 yards, 2nd of 12, 6l behind Rock On Ruby (11-0) at Newbury 2m hdl (3) gs in Dec.
Minella Class (IRE) 4-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, went 2nd going well after 3 out, led approaching last, shaken up and asserted flat, ran on well, comfortably, won at Newbury 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in Dec beating Red Merlin (11-0) by 3 1/2l, 22 ran.
Red Merlin (IRE) 5-1 (11-0) Mid-division, hedaway after 5th, went 2nd last, stayed on flat, no impresison on winner, 2nd of 22, 3 1/2l behind Minella Class (11-0) at Newbury 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in Dec.
Toubab (FR) 7-2 (11-0) Held up 4th in touch, tracked leading pair going well after 4 out, challenged on bit approaching last, led flat, soon clear, unextended, won at Haydock 2m Listed nov hdl (1) gs in Nov beating Drill Sergeant (11-6) by 8l, 4 ran.