Hardy Black was beaten a long way when third over track and trip on his debut and Female Strategy never troubled the winner when placed here last time. Royal Encounter has even more to prove, so it would be no surprise if one of the newcomers proved good enough. The betting may provide valuable clues to the chances of Passing Star and Lockedoutaheaven, but the vote goes to Roger Varian's JAAHIEZ, a half-brother to three winners including the useful Emmrooz.
Hardy Black (IRE) 8-1 (8-10) Started slowly, soon tracking leaders on outside, went 3rd 2f out, ridden and edged left over 1f out, hung left and kept on same pace final furlong, 3rd of 10, 12l behind Unscripted (8-10) at Wolverhampton 7f mdn auc stks (6) pol.
Jaahiez (USA) More Than Ready colt out of Nasmatt.
Lockedoutaheaven (IRE) Rock Of Gibraltar gelding out of Second Burst.
Needs The Run 25-1 (9-5) Held up behind, outpaced 3f out, never dangerous, 8th of 10, 11l behind Excellent Royale (9-5) at Lingfield 7f 3yo mdn auc stks (6) pol.
Oly'roccs (IRE) 50-1 (9-5) Always towards rear, last of 11, 43l behind Donncha (9-5) at Kempton 1m 2yo mdn auc stks (6) pol in Nov.
Our Old Fella 80-1 (9-0) Started slowly, headway to 4th over 6f out, pushed along and outpaced halfway, 5th of 6, 35l behind Al Baz (9-5) at Wolverhampton 7f 2yo nov auc stks (5) pol in Jul.
Passing Star Royal Applause colt out of Passing Hour.
Royal Encounter 25-1 (9-5) Slowly away in rear, never a factor, 9th of 13, 8l behind Jalingo (9-5) at Lingfield 7f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Dec.
Female Strategy (IRE) 8-1 (9-0) Chased leaders, effort over 1f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 3rd of 7, 4 1/2l behind Nova Champ (9-5) at Wolverhampton 6f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Dec.