Mark Johnstones name is synonymous with this race in recent years and he returns with a strong hand, looking for his 5th victory in the last 11 runnings of this event. He saddles STAR OVER THE SEAS, WATERSMEET, FIRE FIGHTING (3rd last year) and REVOLOUTIONIST and jockey bookings would suggest that all have a great chance. SECOND WAVE, OASIS FANTASY and SHAKOPEE are others to note in this wide open event.
DANGER: FIRE FIGHTING 10/1
There was not a lot separating WAR DECREE and BOYNTON when they last met with the latter coming out on top that day. There is a 3lb difference in the weights this time around which could see a reversal of that form. However the value could lie elsewhere and the name Richard Hannon is as good a place as any to start having won 4 of the last 10 renewals. He saddles REPTON, LARCHMONT LAD and HAKEEM. Jockey bookings would see me ruling out the latter and my money will be going on the S Levey mount who has ridden both of the others. ISOMER would be my other one to not having finished 2nd to Churchill 2 runs back.
DANGER: ISOMER 12/1
Godolphin have a strong hand in this race with 3 of the 8 runners and the colours would suggest that the order of preference is as follows, BIRCHWOOD, DUTCH CONNECTION and HOME OF THE BRAVE but my preference has them in a slightly different order.
WINNER: DUTCH CONNECTION 5/2 (NO BET)
DANGER: HOME OF THE BRAVE 9/4
Mark Johnstone saddles another with a chance here in the form of NOTARISED and the fav KING BOLETTE from the Varian yard must hold excellent claims too. But my attention has been grabbed by the 3 C Appleby trained Godolphin runners. QEWY, FRANCIS OF ASSISI and A SOLDIERS LIFE. The latter is the chosen mound of J Doyle which sways my vote for this race.
DANGER: KING BOLETTE 11/2
A wide open race in which a case could be made for many. What i’ve looked for is one that could possibly be below his mark and that brings me to these 4 THESME, SHORE STEPS, CONFESSIONAL and BROTHER TIGER. E Alston who won this race last year also runs two in BLITHE SPIRIT AND RED BARON.
DANGER: BLITHE SPIRIT 9/1
Not a race that i have spared much attention for with little form on offer. We have a short priced fav in HARRY ANGEL but my money will lay with one of the Hannon duo TESKO FELLA or SWAG who offer better value considering the trainers record here.
DANGER: SWAG 18/1
M Channon’s GRATZIE finds herself back in more suitable company and could go much closer than her 11 length beating at th hands of Convey. PURE ART, SHWAIMSA and HAGGLE must also hold real chances too. L Cumani enjoys a good time of it here and i am sure he will have his charge fired up for this one.
DANGER: GRATZIE 22/1