AKMAL can bounce back to form, in the process seeing off Ask, Samuel and King Of Wands. A penalty makes life tough but John Dunlop's gelding, a Group Two winner at Sandown in May, is expected to cope on ideal ground. Richard Hills keeps the faith and this course winner can bounce back from his Ascot Gold Cup flop, further enhancing the strong record of four-year-old's in this contest. Illustrious Blue also has more weight to carry after this Goodwood Cup victory (favourite went badly wrong, Electrolyser a brave second) and whilst he is not discounted, this is not Goodwood, whilst Ask is the class act in the line-up. He was fifth behind Rite Of Passage at Ascot when really well-backed but this shorter trip is in his favour and he wouldn't mind a drop of rain on the Knavesmire. King Of Wands holds several of his rivals on a form line through Illustrious Blue who he beat at Sandown last month, and along with stablemate Samuel (formerly in the same ownership) he rates a big threat. Opinion Poll cannot be ignored as he steps up in grade given his trainer's recent form.
Akmal 16-1 (9-0) Led until 5f out, badly hampered on inside and lost place over 4f out, soon behind, eased, tailed off, 11th of 12, well behind Rite Of Passage (9-2) at Royal Ascot 2m 4f Grp 1 (1) gf in Jun.
Illustrious Blue 8-1 (9-7) Steadied start, held up towards rear, switched left over 3f out, travelling strongly to 2nd inside final 3f, driven to challenge and edged right over 1f out, led entering final furlong, stayed on strongly, driven out, won at Goodwood 2m Grp 2 (1) gd in Jul beating Electrolyser (9-7) by 1 1/4l, 10 ran.
Ask 11-4fav (9-2) Raced keenly, in touch, headway to track leaders over 4f out, ridden 3f out, weakened over 2f out, 5th of 12, 31l behind Rite Of Passage (9-2) at Royal Ascot 2m 4f Grp 1 (1) gf in Jun.
Electrolyser (IRE) 33-1 (9-7) Led 1f, tracked leader, left in lead over 4f out, ridden and stayed on well final 2f, strongly pressed over 1f out, headed entering final furlong, stayed on until no extra and held final 110 yards, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind Illustrious Blue (9-7) at Goodwood 2m Grp 2 (1) gd in Jul.
Free Agent 20-1 (9-7) Soon steadied into mid-division, pushed along 5f out, hampered over 2f out, plugged on to modest 4th, 4th of 10, 12l behind Illustrious Blue (9-7) at Goodwood 2m Grp 2 (1) gd in Jul.
King of Wands 8-1 (9-0) Soon held up in touch, steady headway and squeezed through between horses over 2f out, led over 1f out, driven and stayed on, in command when edged right close home, won at Sandown 2m Listed stks (1) gf in Jul beating Illustrious Blue (9-5) by 3/4l, 7 ran.
Moon Indigo 16-1 (8-13) Tracked leader, pushed along and lost place over 5f out, soon beaten, 4th of 7, 9l behind Free Agent (9-1) at York 1m 6f listed hcp 0-110 (1) gf in Jul.
Opinion Poll (IRE) 11-2 (9-3) Held up in 6th, pushed along 3f out, headway on outside 2f out, went 3rd and stayed on same pace final furlong, 3rd of 7, 1 1/2l behind King Of Wands (9-0) at Sandown 2m Listed stks (1) gf in Jul.
Samuel 16-1 (9-0) Keen, soon close up tracking leaders, went 2nd going well over 3f out, led over 2f out, ridden and headed over 1f out, one pace and held when hamperd last half furlong, 4th of 7, 4l behind King Of Wands (9-0) at Sandown 2m Listed stks (1) gf in Jul.
Tastahil (IRE) 50-1 (9-2) Held up in 9th, struggling final 5f, tailed off, 8th of 12, 41l behind Rite Of Passage (9-2) at Royal Ascot 2m 4f Grp 1 (1) gf in Jun.