Maarek has blossomed this year and thrives on heavy ground. He has a penalty for winning a Group 3 at the Curragh a week ago, however, and will need to improve again if he's to confirm Newcastle running in June with BOASTFUL. Considering Elaine Burke's filly hasn't dipped below Group 3 company since winning a Listed race on soft ground at Goodwood in May, she's a massive price for this prestigious handicap as she appears to have the beating of last year's winner Our Jonathan and another former winner, Regal Parade, on the form book and will get a good tow from a couple of speedsters underneath the stands rail. Colonel Mak was fourth in the race last year and is only a pound higher than when beating a big field at Doncaster in April. He looks a real danger and stablemate Waffle deserves a change of luck in one of these big sprints having finished second in the Wokingham and fourth behind Hawkeyethenoo in the Stewards' Cup when Alben Star, Shropshire and recent Beverley winner Borderlescott were behind. Captain Ramius may come out best of Kevin Ryan's quartet while the unexposed Sholaan is potentially well treated and has won on soft going, though hasn't raced since failing to justify favouritism at Windsor at the end of June. Doc Hay won the Portland handicap last week, once the best trial for this, but looks vulnerable under a penalty in this company and The Cheka makes more appeal as he has form at the highest level and will handle the ground better than most.
Maarek 4-1 (9-8) In rear, ridden along halfway, headway into 4th 1f out and led 100 yards out, kept on best under pressure, won at Curragh 6f Grp 3 (1) beating Starspangledbanner (9-5) by 1/2l, 11 ran.
The Cheka (IRE) 11-4fav (9-0) Led, pushed along over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, headed towards finish, 2nd of 7, 1/2l behind Producer (8-9) at Goodwood 7f Grp 3 (1) gs in Aug.
Beacon Lodge (IRE) 66-1 (9-3) Held up towards rear far side, effort over 1f out, never dangerous, 17th of 20, 8l behind Doc Hay (8-11) at Doncaster 6f hcp (2) gd.
Hawkeyethenoo (IRE) 16-1 (9-3) Slowly into stride, behind, outpaced 2f out, never on terms, 11th of 13, 9l behind Society Rock (9-3) at Haydock 6f Grp 1 (1) fm.
Borderlescott 8-1 (9-0) Chased leaders, headway to lead over 1f out, ran on well, won at Beverley 5f Listed stks 3yo (1) gd beating Masamah (9-0) by 1l, 14 ran.
Our Jonathan 12-1 (9-10) Dwelt, behind stand side, ridden 2f out, never dangerous, 16th of 20, 11l behind Pepper Lane (9-1) at Ripon 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Morache Music 20-1 (9-4) Broke well, soon outpaced towards rear, under pressure halfway, headway over 1f out, never troubled leaders, 4th of 9, 6l behind Soul (9-4) at Newbury 6f Grp 3 (1) hvy in Jul.
Pintura 5-1 (9-11) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, travelled well in 2nd 2f out, led entering straight, ridden and kept on final furlong, all out close home, won at Galway 7f hcp sft in Aug beating Battleroftheboyne (7-13) by nk, 13 ran.
Cheviot (USA) 28-1 (9-7) Made virtually all, ridden inside final 2f, edged left under pressure inside final furlong, stayed on well, won at Haydock 5f hcp 0-100 (2) fm beating Face The Problem (9-3) by 1l, 14 ran.
Mirza 12-1 (9-4) Mid-division, headway over 2f out, soon under pressure and weakened, 8th of 9, 17l behind Soul (9-4) at Newbury 6f Grp 3 (1) hvy in Jul.
Waffle (IRE) 7-1fav (9-9) Raced far side, held up in rear, headway 2f out, switched right over 1f out, ran on inside final furlong, not reach leaders, 4th of 27, 1 1/2l behind Hawkeyethenoo (9-9) at Goodwood 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Jonny Mudball 8-1 (9-4) Chased leader, led 2f out, headed well over 1f out, soon edged left, weakened over 1f out, 4th of 7, 9l behind Night Carnation (8-10) at Bath 6f cond Stakes (3) gs.
Doc Hay (USA) 20-1 (8-11) Behind stand side group, headway over 1f out, ridden inside final furlong, kept on to lead close home, won at Doncaster 6f hcp (2) gd beating Face The Problem (8-11) by nk, 20 ran.
Boastful (IRE) 13-2 (9-2) Soon chased leaders, off the pace, no impression under pressure and kept on same pace from 1 1/2f out, 6th of 8, 5l behind My Girl Anna (9-2) at Curragh 5f Grp 3 (1) sft in Aug.
Captain Ramius (IRE) 20-1 (9-2) Dwelt, towards rear far side, ridden and headway over 2f out, kept on inside final furlong, 4th of 20, 4l behind Pepper Lane (9-1) at Ripon 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Regal Parade 17-2 (9-1) Slowly in to stride, badly outpaced in rear, haeadway on outside over 1f out, stayed on to 2nd final 120 yards, unable to reach winner, 2nd of 7, 3/4l behind Night Carnation (8-10) at Bath 6f cond Stakes (3) gs.
Brae Hill (IRE) 9-1 (9-8) Mid-division, stumbled over 3f out, rider soon started to ease, virtually pulled up, last of 15, 42l behind Verse Of Love (7-8) at Chester 1m hcp (2) gd.
Miss Work of Art 16-1 (8-10) Mid-division, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, last of 18, well behind Sunday Times (8-10) at Doncaster 7f flls Group 3 stks (1) gd.
Shropshire (IRE) 10-1 (9-5) Held up mid-division, ridden over 1f out, one pace, 9th of 16, 6l behind Cape Classic (8-10) at Doncaster 6f hcp 105 (2) gd.
Rodrigo De Torres 10-1 (9-9) Prominent, 2nd halfway, ridden entering straight, weakened from 2f out, 5th of 6, 9l behind Alanza (9-9) at Leopardstown 7f Grp 3 (1) sft in Jun.
Colonel Mak 12-1 (8-12) Mid-division stand side, ridden 2f out, faded 1f out, 15th of 20, 8l behind Pepper Lane (9-1) at Ripon 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Sholaan (IRE) 6-4fav (9-7) Dwelt, soon pushed along to lead on rail, ridden over 1f out, narrowly headed inside final furlong, no extra, 3rd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Mezzotint (8-5) at Windsor 6f 3yo hcp 0-100 (2) gd in Jun.
Tariq Too (9-4) 5th of 6, 6l behind Silver Ocean (9-4) at Ovrevoll(NOR) 6f Grp 3 hvy in Aug.
Louis The Pious 8-1 (8-13) Towards rear far side, headway over 2f out, chased winner inside final furlong, always held, 3rd of 20, 3 1/2l behind Pepper Lane (9-1) at Ripon 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Pearl Ice 9-2fav (9-7) Close up, ridden 2f out, weakened soon after, 8th of 16, 8l behind Rex Imperator (9-3) at Windsor 6f hcp 105 (2) gd in Jun.
Alben Star (IRE) 5-1fav (8-13) Towards rear far side, ridden to chase winner over 1f out until inside final furlong, weakened final 100 yards, 8th of 20, 6l behind Pepper Lane (9-1) at Ripon 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Johannes (IRE) 16-1 (8-5) Towards rear stand side, headway over 1f out, edged right inside final furlong, kept on, 5th of 20, 4 1/2l behind Pepper Lane (9-1) at Ripon 6f hcp (2) gd in Aug.