led until over 2f out, soon weakened
tracked leaders, effort 2f out, soon one pace
held up in mid-division, headway to chase leaders over 2f out, led over 1f out, soon hard ridden, weakened well inside final furlong
broke well, soon held up well in rear, never a factor
prominent, raced keenly, led over 2f out, headed approaching final furlong, soon weakened
held up in rear, headway over 2f out, ran on final furlong, not reached winner
behind, headway over 2f out, soon ridden to challenge, stayed on same pace
started slowly, held up in rear, headway 2f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, ran on well
There are plenty of in-form performers to consider but BENEDICT SPIRIT gets our vote ahead of William's Way, Augustus John and Donaldson. We're going to leave Doubnov off our short-list despite the fact that his yard has enjoyed an excellent season and that the horse himself has been in fine form of late as this may just be more competitive than he cares for. The selection hasn't finished out of the frame in six starts for David Evans and has won his last two whilst strongly suggesting that he's more than capable of defying his latest rise in the weights. Augustus John also lines up in search of a hat-trick following wins over course and distance but he could struggle to defy a 3lb rise in this company. William's Way is just as effective here as he is at Southwell but is another that could struggle with the handicapper's attentions and of more interest is Donaldson who may yet be able to recapture the form of his youth on the level. He has plenty to prove against some in-form rivals but has been given a real chance by the assessor and a market move would be encouraging but we prefer Benedict Spirit.
Donaldson (GER) 40-1 (9-5) Led, ridden over 1f out, soon headed, weakened entering final furlong, 6th of 7, 6l behind King Olav (9-3) at Kempton 1m 4f hcp 0-95 (3) pol in Feb.
Benedict Spirit (IRE) 9-2 (9-5) Held up towards rear, headway over 4f out, hampered over 2f out, ridden to lead over 1f out, ran on, won at Wolverhampton 2m hcp 0-95 (3) pol beating Calculating (8-9) by 1 1/2l, 8 ran.
Encircled 11-1 (9-7) Steadied start, held up in last place and all of 3 lengths off the pack, pushed along and kept on towards finish, 4th of 6, 6l behind Spruce (8-4) at Lingfield 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Feb.
Valmari (IRE) 40-1 (9-6) Took keen hold, held up in last pair, headway on wide outside 6f out, outpaced and behind final 3f, last of 8, 13l behind Sinbad The Sailor (9-1) at Lingfield 2m hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Feb.
Doubnov (FR) 4-11fav (9-6) Led, pushed along over 2f out, ridden and headed well inside final furlong, kept on one pace, last of 2, 3/4l behind Resplendent Ace (9-2) at Southwell 1m 6f clm stks (6) fbs in Feb.
William's Way 15-2 (10-9) Held up in rear, smooth headway and in touch 7f out, led 3f out, ridden clear over 1f out, eased towards finish, comfortably, won at Southwell 2m Amateur Handicap (0-65) (4yo+) (6) fbs in Jan beating Spring Breeze (9-13) by 7l, 11 ran.
Augustus John (IRE) 5-1 (10-0) Held up, mid-division, headway under pressure approaching final furlong, stayed on strongly to lead towards finish, won at Wolverhampton 1m 6f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Feb beating Resplendent Ace (10-0) by shd, 9 ran.
Kames Park (IRE) 5-1 (8-10) Switched left after start, held up in last place, ridden 2f out, staying on when not clear run and switched right 1f out, stayed on towards finish, never nearer, 5th of 9, 7l behind Benedict Spirit (8-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.