Royal Opera appeared to relish stepping up to 1m6f at Catterick so the stiff climb to the finish here should be in his favour. FENNELL BAY has been gradually dropping in the weights and has produced a couple of decent efforts in slightly better handicaps recently. He looks the one to be on though High Office looks a big threat as he's on a mark 8lb lower than when beaten a short-head at York's Dante meeting last year.
Palazzo Bianco 11-10fav (9-7) Tracked leader, weakened over 3f out, last of 4, 48l behind Gosbeck (9-5) at Nottingham 1m 6f hcp 0-90 (3) gf in Aug.
Fennell Bay (IRE) 11-2fav (9-2) Prominent, chased leader over 3f out until 2f out, kept on one pace, 4th of 14, 6l behind Ingleby Spirit (8-7) at Doncaster 1m 4f hcp 0-90 (3) gd.
High Office 6-1 (9-7) Held up mid-division, headway over 4f out to go 3rd, ridden over 1f out, kept on and no chance with leading pair, 3rd of 9, 8l behind Albert Bridge (9-12) at Ayr 1m 5f hcp 0-90 (3) hvy in Sep.
Sir Boss (IRE) 9-1 (9-2) Held up in touch, went 3rd over 1f out, no impression when dropped to 4th inside final furlong, no extra in 5th close home, 5th of 7, 7l behind Buckland (8-8) at Kempton 1m 3f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Mar.
Tartan Gigha (IRE) 50-1 (9-6) Led, headed over 4f out, pushed along over 3f out, soon weakened, 9th of 11, 41l behind The Tiger (9-9) at Catterick 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) sft in Oct.
Arizona John (IRE) 13-2 (8-12) Mid-division, headway over 2f out, led on bit over 1f out, ridden and headed inside final furlong, kept on, 3rd of 11, 1 1/2l behind O Ma Lad (9-7) at Catterick 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) gd.
Royal Opera 16-1 (9-2) Made all, pressed inside final furlong, kept on gamely, just held on post, won at Catterick 1m 6f hcp 0-75 (5) gd beating Platinum (9-1) by shd, 12 ran.
Maybeagrey 14-1 (8-9) Always behind, 7th of 8, 15l behind Beaumont's Party (9-2) at Newcastle 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) gs.