Toga Tiger showed progressive form during the summer when landing a hat-trick at Brighton but he's having his first start since July and others are preferred. Mr Knightley has every chance as he chases his own treble after a couple of wins at Kempton while seven time C&D winner Smalljohn can never be discounted at this track. Fred Willettts is on a favourable mark compared to his best form but so is AZRAEL and the latter gets the nod. A runner-up over C&D last time, Alan McCabe's charge finally looks set for a return to winning ways.
Caldercruix (USA) 16-1 (9-4) Mid-division, pushed along over 2f out, kept on under pressure inside final furlong, never going pace to reach leaders, 5th of 11, 2l behind Alnoomaas (9-1) at Kempton 6f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Mr Knightley (IRE) 4-5fav (9-3) Broke well, soon steadied in last pair, smooth headway over 2f out, led on bit over 1f out, soon clear, unextended, won at Kempton 1m 3yo clm stks (6) pol in Dec beating Balmoral Castle (8-9) by 1 1/2l, 7 ran.
Fred Willetts (IRE) 5-1 (9-2) Mid-division, outpaced 3f out, ridden 1f out, never on terms, 8th of 11, 4 1/2l behind Khawatim (9-3) at Wolverhampton 6f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Smalljohn 16-1 (9-0) Led until over 1f out, soon weakened, last of 12, 15l behind Kingscroft (9-7) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Nov.
Summerinthecity (IRE) 6-1 (9-4) Led after 2f, ridden and headed over 1f out, no extra, 5th of 11, 3 1/2l behind Fathsta (9-4) at Wolverhampton 6f Handicap (0-78) (3yo+) (5) pol in Dec.
Azrael 10-1 (8-11) Chased winner throughout, ridden and stayed on same pace inside final furlong, just held on for 2nd, 2nd of 11, 1 1/2l behind Silverware (9-7) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Dec.
Rossetti 11-2 (8-9) Steadied start, took keen hold in rear, headway over 1f out, no extra inside final furlong, 5th of 7, 5l behind Alfred Hutchinson (9-3) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Dec.
Toga Tiger (IRE) 11-10fav (8-12) Raced stands' side close up, headway 2f out, soon every chance, edged left and no extra inside final furlong, 5th of 10, 4 1/2l behind Copperwood (9-4) at Newmarket 1m hcp 0-75 (5) gf in Jul.
Thereabouts (USA) 6-1 (9-5) Prominent, ridden 2f out, kept on same pace, 4th of 10, 5l behind Ambitious Boy (8-12) at Yarmouth 6f mdn hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Aug.
Peak Storm 15-8 (10-0) Tracked leaders and keen, ridden over 2f out, led over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, soon weakened, 4th of 8, 2 3/4l behind Testa Rossa (8-10) at Wolverhampton 7f mdn auc stks (6) pol.