Lion Sands is marginally preferred to Regal Flush and Spanish Moon in a fascinating contest. The selection hails from the in-form Cumani yard whose runners haven't been tending to need their reappearances. He's clearly well regarded as the trainer eschewed handicaps with this colt following his maiden success and this Listed winner will surely win Group races this season. Spanish Moon's connections clearly have a lot of faith in him but this is a big ask for this lightly raced colt. It took some time for Regal Flush to get the hang of things but he improved in leaps and bounds in the second half of last season culminating with a 2 length fourth in the Leger; I'm just not convinced that this race will be run to his strengths. Classic Punch has made winning reappearances for the last two years and has every chance on his best form, as does Ivy Creek although he's looked a little quirky on occasion, Munsef will be expected to be in the mix too but it's hard to see him winning and we believe that Lion Sands can land this heat before being stepped back up in class.
Classic Punch (IRE) 33-1 (9-0) Led 1f, tracked leader, ridden and every chance over 2f out, soon weakened, eased heavily 2f out, tailed off, 7th of 8, 37l behind Ask (9-3) at Ascot 1m 4f Grp 3 (1) gs in Sept.
Ivy Creek (USA) 7-1 (8-12) In touch, effort 3f out, edged left under pressure over 1f out, stayed on, 4th of 14, 1 1/2l behind Royal And Regal (9-0) at Newbury 1m 4f Grp 3 (1) sft in Apr.
Lion Sands 6-4fav (9-0) Held up in rear, pushed along 4f out, ridden and headway over 2f out, led inside final furlong, ran on, won at Newmarket 1m 6f 3yo lst stk (1) gd in Oct beating Spanish Hidalgo (9-0) by 2 1/2l, 8 ran.
Tungsten Strike (USA) 50-1 (8-7) Set steady early pace, led to well over 3f out, weakened quickly, last of 21, 22l behind Efficient (8-8) at Flemington 2m Grp 1 hcp (1) gd in Nov.
Big Robert 50-1 (8-11) Slowly away, switched left soon after start, behind, ridden and some headway over 2f out, one pace final furlong, 8th of 14, 7l behind Royal And Regal (9-0) at Newbury 1m 4f Grp 3 (1) sft in Apr.
Munsef 11-4 (9-4) Towards rear, pushed along over 5f out, soon weakened, tailed off, 5th of 6, well behind Soapy Danger (9-0) at Doncaster 1m 4f stk (2) sft in Mar.
Petara Bay (IRE) 40-1 (8-11) Mid-division, weakened 2f out, 13th of 14, 25l behind Royal And Regal (9-0) at Newbury 1m 4f Grp 3 (1) sft in Apr.
Spanish Moon (USA) 3-1 (8-11) Tracked leaders, pushed along over 5f out, weakened inside final furlong, 6th of 9, 6l behind Fairmile (9-2) at York 1m 2f stk (3) gd in Oct.
Young Mick 9-4fav (9-3) Mid-division, chased leaders, 2f out, no extra over 1f out, weakened final furlong, 5th of 8, 6l behind Dansant (8-11) at Kempton 1m 4f lst stk (1) pol in Nov.
Hanella (IRE) 5-2 (9-4) Held up in 4th, headway to chase winner 3f out, ridden over 1f out, not quicken inside final furlong, 2nd of 4, 3/4l behind Vale de Lobo (8-9) at Chepstow 1m 4f fll hcp (4) gs.
Regal Flush 13-2 (9-0) Held up, ridden over 3f out, headway over 1f out, kept on, 4th of 10, 2l behind Lucarno (9-0) at Doncaster 1m 7f Grp 1 (1) gf in Sept.