Saint Thomas has leading claims on his latest head defeat over course and distance, although he's upped in class for this. This is also tougher than the race Gran Maestro finished fourth in at Newcastle last time while Exning Halt and Warcrown have yet to win outside of maiden company. The veteran Classic Punch looked on the downgrade last season and makes his reappearance for new connections today but TARTAN GIGHA has every chance. He's slipped down the weights since scoring at Carlisle last season and, after running well on his seasonal debut here recently, he gets the nod.
Classic Punch (IRE) 20-1 (9-4) With leader, led over 3f out, headed over 2f out, weakened inside final furlong, 6th of 12, 3l behind Dick Doughtywylie (9-4) at Doncaster 1m 2f stks 0-85 (3) gd in Sep.
Tartan Gigha (IRE) 16-1 (8-9) In rear, never a factor, 6th of 8, 3 1/2l behind Fennell Bay (9-6) at Beverley 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) gf in Apr.
Exning Halt 8-1 (9-2) Soon led, headed over 5f out, tracked leaders, ridden over 2f out, no extra inside final furlong, 7th of 9, 5l behind Patriotic (9-5) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-80 (4) pol in Feb.
Warcrown (IRE) 11-1 (9-7) Took keen hold and held up in mid-division, ridden 3f out, soon weakened and behind, last of 14, 30l behind Gold Show (9-0) at Pontefract 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) gs in Apr.
Gran Maestro (USA) 9-1 (9-7) Dropped out start, held up, headway over 3f out, ridden to press leaders from over 1f out, never quite able to challenge, stayed on, 4th of 10, 1l behind Going Grey (8-8) at Newcastle 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) gd in Apr.
Saint Thomas (IRE) 9-2 (9-2) Tracked leaders, ridden 3f out, every chance inside final furlong, ran on, 2nd of 11, hd behind Apache Glory (9-5) at Beverley 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Apr.