The 2009 renewal of the Melrose looks just as tricky as ever with numerous chances, but it will take a good one to lower the colours of STANSTILL, who gets the vote ahead of Penang Princess and Braveheart Move. The last-named has the typical profile of a Sir Mark Prescott-trained improver, having already been well placed to win three of his five starts. He handles fast ground well and has to shoulder a penalty for a recent Pontefract win, but pedigree suggests that stamina may be an issue over this far. There are no such concerns for supporters of Penang Princess, who has won over both this trip and also two miles at Kempton last time out. Fast ground is ideal for her and even after a 7lb rise she has to be given plenty of respect. With the yard in good form Alcalde could well emerge as a leading player. Mark Johnston's colt clearly needed his return run and went very close over 1m 4f at Newmarket last weekend. He is related to winners over this trip, is open to improvement after just four runs, and given his prominent style of racing he looks like being a big danger. Top weight Classic Vintage has been raised 7lbs for a Glorious Goodwood success, and although pedigree suggests that he may run out of gas, that latest win indicated otherwise. Cosmic Sun is 6lbs better off with Amanda Perrett's charge for three lengths in that Goodwood contest, and with this trip more likely to suit the Helission gelding he may well be up to turning the tables. Alanbrooke will keep going when others have cried enough, though the handicapper looks to have his measure for now. Final Victory is 3lbs better off with the selection for a little over a length at Haydock and is not discounted, but we prefer his conqueror that day, Stanstill. Alan Swinbank's gelding has not been out of the first two all season, winning his last three. He is a tough one for the assessor to get right given that he only just does enough to win, meaning that he may still have a bit in hand. He stays this far, the ground is not a problem and he looks likely to continue on the rise.
Classic Vintage (USA) 11-1 (8-13) Reminder soon after start, soon in mid-division, steady headway on inside going well over 3f out, led 2f out, soon edged right to rails, in command final furlong, kept on strongly, won at Goodwood 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-105 (2) gd in Jul beating State Banquet (8-7) by 2 3/4l, 14 ran.
Too Much Trouble 16-1 (9-7) Held up in rear, ridden on wide outside and hung right from 3f out, kept on final furlong, never a factor, 6th of 14, 10l behind Classic Vintage (8-13) at Goodwood 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-105 (2) gd in Jul.
Akmal 11-1 (9-2) In touch, effort to chase leaders over 2f out, soon ridden, edged right and weakened over 1f out, 5th of 14, 8l behind Classic Vintage (8-13) at Goodwood 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-105 (2) gd in Jul.
Alanbrooke 6-1 (9-12) Soon led, 6 lengths clear 8f out, headed over 1f out, soon weakened, 6th of 8, 7l behind Polly's Mark (9-8) at Ascot 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-100 (2) gd.
Cosmic Sun 14-1 (9-0) Raced wide in mid-division, pushed along and headway over 3f out, driven and stayed on from over 1f out, not pace to challenge, 4th of 14, 3l behind Classic Vintage (8-13) at Goodwood 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-105 (2) gd in Jul.
Braveheart Move (IRE) 13-8fav (9-1) Keen, tracked leader 4f out, joined leader approaching 2f out, every chance until driven to lead final 100 yards, ran on gamely, won at Pontefract 1m 4f hcp 0-90 (3) gf beating Eton Fable (9-2) by 1/2l, 7 ran.
Barwell Bridge 8-1 (9-9) Held up in rear, headway over 4f out, stayed on, never able to challenge, 4th of 8, 5l behind Polly's Mark (9-8) at Ascot 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-100 (2) gd.
Stanstill (IRE) 5-2 (9-2) Stumbled start, raced keenly, tracked leaders, ridden and effort over 2f out, led over 1f out, edged right and kept on final furlong, won at Haydock 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gd beating Interdiamonds (8-3) by 1l, 4 ran.
Final Victory 11-4 (9-0) Led, ridden over 2f out, headed over 1f out, kept on final furlong, 3rd of 4, 1 1/4l behind Stanstill (9-2) at Haydock 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gd.
Penang Princess 7-4fav (9-3) Made all, jinked left 2f out, wandered left over 1f out and clear, stayed on gamely under pressure, driven out, won at Kempton 2m 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) pol in Jun beating Ostaadi (9-7) by 4l, 7 ran.
Alcalde 3-1fav (9-2) Led, ridden and hung left from over 1f out, headed last strides, 2nd of 10, 1/2l behind Times Up (9-4) at Newmarket 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) gf.
Bernie The Bolt (IRE) 13-8 (9-0) In touch, ridden to chase leader over 2f out, edged left approaching final furlong, driven to lead inside final furlong, won at Lingfield 1m 6f mdn stks (5) gs beating Gibb River (9-0) by 2 3/4l, 4 ran.
Gibb River (IRE) 5-4fav (9-0) Led, came towards centre entering straight over 3f out, soon ridden, driven 2f out, headed inside final furlong, edged left and no extra, 2nd of 4, 2 3/4l behind Bernie The Bolt (9-0) at Lingfield 1m 6f mdn stks (5) gs.
Royal Trooper (IRE) 8-1 (9-2) Held up, ridden over 2f out, kept on from over 1f out, no impression, 5th of 9, 6l behind Excelsior Academy (8-10) at Haydock 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) gf.