Sir Michael Stoute loves this race and has won it three times in the past seven years. SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD has something to find on official figures as he steps out of handicap company but he was conceding 20lb to the runner-up when completing a double at York and a chance is taken that he's made sufficient progress. It's impossible to find one without a chance among his eight rivals and Ektihaam, beaten just over a length by Al Kazeem in Sandown's Gordon Richards Stakes when Thomas Chippendale was just in front, reversed the form with the latter in no uncertain terms over this course and distance last month and has to be rated a serious threat. Universal showed his battling qualities when fighting back to beat Dandino in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket but the runner-up was having his first start since December and will be primed for action in this. The remaining quartet are all quite capable of winning this extremely competitive affair.
Aiken 4-1 (9-7) Held up disputing 5th, headway on outside over 2f out, disputing 2nd 2f out, went 2nd inside final 2f, ridden to lead 1f out, headed and no extra final 50 yards, 2nd of 9, nk behind Rite Of Passage (9-7) at Ascot 2m Grp 3 (1) sft in Oct.
Dandino 9-4 (8-12) Track winner, ridden to challenge approaching 2f out, led briefly over 1f out, edged right and ran on, 2nd of 4, nk behind Universal (8-12) at Newmarket 1m 4f Grp 2 (1) gf in May.
Ektihaam (IRE) 11-4 (8-12) Made all at good pace, increased tempo halfway, pushed clear inside final 3f, ridden well over 1f out, stayed on strongly, unchallenged, won at Ascot 1m 4f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gf in May beating Thomas Chippendale (8-12) by 6l, 5 ran.
Mount Athos (IRE) 11-8 (9-0) With leader, led after 1f, clear over 3f out, easily, won at Chester 1m 5f Grp 3 (1) gs in May beating Mad Moose (9-0) by 9l, 6 ran.
Noble Mission 8-13fav (9-0) In touch, slightly outpaced 3f out, soon switched left, ridden and headway 2f out, led approaching final furlong, driven and ran on, won at Goodwood 1m 4f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gs in May beating Genzy (9-0) by 4l, 5 ran.
Sir John Hawkwood (IRE) 13-8fav (9-12) Tracked leaders, led over 2f out, ridden and pressed over 1f out, led narrowly inside final furlong, held on close home, won at York 1m 4f hcp 0-105 (2) sft in May beating Hanoverian Baron (8-6) by hd, 12 ran.
Songcraft (IRE) 11-10fav (9-0) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, switched right over 2f out, soon led and edged left, clear inside final furlong, stayed on, won at York 1m 6f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gd in May beating Bite Of The Cherry (8-9) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.
Thomas Chippendale (IRE) 9-4 (8-12) Slowly into stride, took keen hold and held up in 4th, headway on outside to 3rd 4f out, disputing well held 2nd 2f out, went 2nd well over 1f out, no chance with unchallenged winner, 2nd of 5, 6l behind Ektihaam (8-12) at Ascot 1m 4f Listed Stakes (4yo+) (1) gf in May.
Universal (IRE) 11-4 (8-12) Led, headed briefly over 1f out, ridden and ran on gamely, won at Newmarket 1m 4f Grp 2 (1) gf in May beating Dandino (8-12) by nk, 4 ran.