in touch, chasing leaders when mistake 3 out, weakened before next
prominent, ridden to challenge before 2 out, stayed on same approaching last
chased leaders, effort 3 out, weakened next
held up well in rear, headway after 3 out, chased leaders before last, never a threat
made all, clear 2 out, ran on well
chased leaders, ridden to challenge after 3 out, weakened before last
Mr Shantu has won three times this year but looks a risky proposition on testing ground and is taken on with SIR VINSKI. The latter won twice at Ayr last season and is just preferred to stablemate Top Billing, who ended last year with a treble on faster surfaces than this and is 8lb higher today. Slim Pickens kept on well for second over 2m4f at Sandown earlier this month while A Vos Gardes wasn’t beaten far when only fifth at Huntingdon recently and makes more appeal than Up And Go.
Mr Shantu (IRE) 4-1fav (11-2) Held up well in rear, closing when badly hampered 4 out, behind until closed after 2 out, challenged last, soon led, headed and not pace of winner final 100 yards, 2nd of 11, 2 1/4l behind Dark Spirit (11-6) at Cheltenham 3m hcp (2) gd in Oct.
A Vos Gardes (FR) 5-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders, jumped left at times, went 2nd when mistake 3rd, every chance 3 out, one pace and no impression next, lost 4th close home, 5th of 7, 7 1/4l behind Bivouac (11-2) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp (2) sft in Nov.
Slim Pickens (IRE) 11-2 (11-9) Held up towards rear in touch, ridden on outside when left 4th 2 out, stayed on under pressure run-in, took 2nd final strides, no chance with winner, 2nd of 8, 2 1/2l behind Clondaw Banker (11-2) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp (3) sft in Nov.
Up And Go (FR) 8-1 (11-4) Chased leader, not fluent 3rd, lost place after 4th, weakened before next, soon pulled up, at Warwick 2m 3f hcp (3) sft in May.
Top Billing 3-1fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd from 7th, led after 4 out, headed approaching 3 out, soon led again, clear before last, easily, won at Ayr 3m hcp (4) gs in Nov beating Quel Elite (11-6) by 5l, 7 ran.
Sir Vinski (IRE) 6-1 (10-13) Mid-division, pushed along before 5th, struggling in rear after next, tailed off and pulled up 9th, at Ayr 3m hcp (3) gd in Apr.