My Mate Max won this contest carrying top weight on his seasonal debut last year and no doubt Reg Hollinshead will have him ready to make another bold bid. However, he could be foiled by DUBARA REEF on this occasion. The latter won five times last season between 1m6f and 2m and a close-up fourth over a shorter trip at Catterick last time suggests Paul Green's charge is set to strike once again. Rare Ruby and Stormy Morning look in need of some respite from the handicapper but there may be more to come from Raktiman this year.
My Mate Max 12-1 (9-6) In rear, headway over 3f out, no impression final 2f, 5th of 9, 12l behind Palio Square (9-2) at Wolverhampton 1m 6f hcp 0-80 (4) pol in Oct.
Rare Ruby (IRE) 33-1 (9-1) In touch in mid-division, ridden 3f out, weakened 2f out, 11th of 18, 19l behind Ashbrittle (9-10) at Doncaster 1m 7f hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Oct.
Raktiman (IRE) 6-1 (8-9) Slowly into stride,in rear, headway and hung left 2f out, ridden to lead over 1f out, soon headed, kept on, 2nd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Pelham Crescent (9-4) at Bath 1m 4f app hcp 0-75 (5) gs in Oct.
Dubara Reef (IRE) 12-1 (9-6) Tracked leaders, ridden over 1f out, kept on final furlong, lost 3rd close home, 4th of 12, 1 3/4l behind King's Counsel (8-13) at Catterick 1m 4f hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Apr.
Stormy Morning 9-1 (9-5) In touch, ridden over 4f out, outpaced 2f out, stayed on again inside final furlong, not pace to threaten, 5th of 13, 2l behind Spice Fair (9-4) at Goodwood 2m hcp 0-70 (5) gf.