Marco Botti has a strong hand in this represented by both Al Hamdany, a winner at Kempton last month and Crowned Eagle, who has been in the mix at Newmarket though remains 10lb higher than his latest success. Castlelyons won a lower grade contest at Kempton recently while Mixboy is also upped in class and raised 11lb after scoring easily at Catterick. COHESION (NAP) was well beaten in the November Handicap at Doncaster last time but won a tougher race than this over track and trip back in March. David Bridgewater’s charge may well be good enough off only a 3lb higher mark and gets the vote.
Cohesion 16-1 (9-8) Towards rear, ridden 3f out, never on terms, 14th of 23, 7 3/4l behind Saunter (8-13) at Doncaster 1m 4f hcp (2) sft in Nov.
Crowned Eagle 16-1 (9-0) Towards rear, headway 3f out, soon ridden, stayed on inside final furlong, 4th of 16, 3 1/2l behind First Nation (9-0) at Newmarket 1m 4f hcp (2) gd in Oct.
Al Hamdany (IRE) 2-1 (9-7) Held up in touch on inside, headway tracking leading pair over 2f out, 2nd over 1f out, ridden to lead narrowly entering final furlong, held on, all out, won at Kempton 1m 4f hcp (3) pol in Nov beating Flight Of Fantasy (8-6) by shd, 6 ran.
Mixboy (FR) 15-8fav (9-5) Tracked leader, led over 5f out, headed over 4f out, led again over 2f out, drew clear over 1f out, easily, won at Catterick 1m 4f hcp (4) sft in Oct beating Henry Smith (9-4) by 6l, 11 ran.
Castlelyons (IRE) 11-2 (9-1) Held up mid-division, driven and headway on outside over 1f out, led narrowly 1f out, soon ridden, stayed on well towards finish, won at Kempton 1m 4f hcp (3) pol in Nov beating Isaac Bell (8-11) by 1l, 8 ran.
Afonso De Sousa (USA) 50-1 (9-2) Held up in rear, took keen hold, ridden 3f out, soon beaten, 7th of 8, 18 1/2l behind Torcello (8-9) at Newmarket 1m 4f hcp (2) gs in Sep.
Canberra Cliffs (IRE) 12-1 (9-7) Raced wide tracked leader 8f out, ridden to lead briefly approaching final furlong, faded inside final furlong, 7th of 8, at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp fll (3) pol in Nov.
Nonios (IRE) 10-1 (9-7) Dwelt towards rear, never a factor, last of 7, 26 3/4l behind Noble Peace (9-7) at Goodwood 1m hcp (4) sft in Oct.
Fair Power (IRE) 16-1 (9-1) Towards rear, headway chasing leaders over 2f out, ridden and weakened inside final furlong, 9th of 14, 5 1/2l behind Golden Birthday (9-4) at Kempton 1m 4f hcp (4) pol in Oct.