The market will tell us more but ANCIENT TIMES looks to have been found a decent opening, with Calculus Affair and Royal Torbo rated the main dangers. Mark Johnston's runners are in perpetually good order and this colt looks to want a mile on paper, so providing he acts on the Fibresand he could advertise the belief that the opposition isn't strong here. As with any newcomer from the stable a market check is required but in the anticipation that he's a strong favourite we make him our selection. Calculus Affair has disappointed connections so far and must improve, but he's well related and the market support he's attracted in both starts suggests we can expect better. He's another with no form at the track but on pedigree he'll appreciate it, so it seems a sensible decision to switch to Southwell. Royal Torbo ran well over further at Wolverhampton last time and with the drop down in trip set to suit he's probably the one to beat on what we've actually seen, but whilst he should run a solid race our belief is the aforementioned pair will improve past him. Celestial Girl is an American-bred filly who should improve for this switch to Fibresand so it'll be interesting to see the level of support behind Hughie Morrison's charge, although she needs to improve upon her two modest efforts, whilst Balcombe is another interesting newcomer for a yard that know how to get one ready. The betting will hopefully shed some light on this race but without that guide our ready preference is for Ancient Times.
Ancient Times (USA) Smart Strike colt out of Histoire Sainte.
Balcombe (FR) Danehill Dancer colt out of Lady Of St Kilda.
Calculus Affair (IRE) 13-8fav (9-3) Chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, no extra final furlong, 5th of 10, 10l behind Fazza (9-3) at Lingfield 7f 2yo mdn stks (6) in Dec.
First Post (IRE) 150-1 (9-3) Mid-division, lost place over 2f out, soon weakened, 12th of 15, 33l behind Multames (9-3) at Newbury 1m 2yo mdn (4) gs in Oct.
Royal Torbo (KSA) 16-1 (8-12) Soon led, ridden over 1f out, kept on until headed and no extra towards finish, 2nd of 4, nk behind Reallymissgreeley (8-12) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f 3yo mdn stks (5) pol in Jan.
Celestial Girl 3-1 (8-7) Held up in touch, chased leaders over 2f out, soon one pace, 4th of 7, 9l behind Pastel Blue (8-7) at Lingfield 1m mdn fll (5) pol in Jan.