Thundering Blue comes out best at the weights but a poor effort behind third-placed Extra Elusive and Fabricate at Sandown on his return doesn’t boost confidence. He’ll need a return to the form that saw him land a Group 2 at York last summer when Elarqam finished third. The latter is having his second start after wind surgery having finished in front of Vintager at Newmarket last month, though the Godolphin grey has subsequently run much better at the same track. WILLIE JOHN has had his problems since landing a couple of novice races though was far from disgraced on his reappearance at Doncaster behind Red Verdon, rated 110. Roger Varian’s colt still has plenty of scope and may yet prove up to this level.
Thundering Blue (USA) 14-1 (9-3) Held up in last trio, behind and hung right final 2f, never a factor, last of 7, 13l behind Crystal Ocean (9-0) at Sandown 1m 2f Grp 3 stks (1) gf in Apr.
Elarqam 9-2cfav (9-0) Raced on far rail, led 8f out until 6f out, chased leaders, outpaced 2f out, kept on again towards finish, 4th of 10, 5 3/4l behind Zabeel Prince (9-0) at Newmarket 1m 1f Grp 3 stks (1) gf in Apr.
Extra Elusive 20-1 (9-0) Went to post early, raced keenly in last trio, headway on outside under pressure 2f out, went never dangerous 3rd near finish, 3rd of 7, 5 3/4l behind Crystal Ocean (9-0) at Sandown 1m 2f Grp 3 stks (1) gf in Apr.
Fabricate 16-1 (9-0) Led briefly, settled tracking leaders 8f out, headway over 2f out, soon pushed along in 3rd, never any chance with leading duo, lost never dangerous 3rd near finish, 4th of 7, 6l behind Crystal Ocean (9-0) at Sandown 1m 2f Grp 3 stks (1) gf in Apr.
Francis Xavier (IRE) 5-2fav (9-10) Mid-division on inside, headway over 2f out, switched right over 1f out, stayed on to lead inside final 150 yards, soon clear, eased towards finish, won at Pontefract 1m 2f hcp (3) gd in Sep beating Busy Street (9-7) by 1 3/4l, 9 ran.
Glendevon (USA) 8-1 (9-5) Tracked leaders, pulled hard, ridden 3f out, lost place over 1f out, rallied inside final furlong, went 3rd post, 3rd of 11, 3 1/4l behind Oh This Is Us (9-5) at Lingfield 1m stks (2) pol in Apr.
Vintager 8-1 (9-10) Tracked leader, ridden to lead over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, kept on, 3rd of 10, 3/4l behind Elector (8-7) at Newmarket 1m 1f hcp stks (2) gf in May.
Willie John 10-11fav (9-2) Keen tracked leader, shaken up over 1f out, ridden to lead briefly inside final furlong, no extra towards finish, 4th of 6, 1 3/4l behind Red Verdon (9-5) at Doncaster 1m 4f stks (2) gd in Mar.