Third in the Ayr Gold Cup, Hitchens has been in good form on turf lately and will be a danger if translating that to the all-weather surface. But formerly useful juvenile Taajub didn't show a lot on his reappearance from a long lay-off at Ascot and may be best watched again here. Two-year-olds Knock Stars and Ladie's Choice could be interesting as the former has already won at the track while the latter was considered good enough to contest a Group 2 at Doncaster last month. But we'll stick to the older generation in the shape of BAJAN TRYST. Kevin Ryan's gelding has been at the top of his game in some competitive sprint handicaps this year and improved again to finish runner-up at Doncaster last month. Though Luisant enjoys a 7lb turnaround in the weights from his defeat by the selection over 6f here in August, this drop in distance isn't certain to suit the top weight.
Luisant 3-1 (9-3) Settled in mid-division on outer, 6th halfway, smooth headway to challenge over 1f out, led and edged left inside final furlong, stayed on well, won at Curragh 6f Listed stks (1) beating Definightly (9-6) by 2 1/2l, 10 ran.
Bajan Tryst (USA) 25-1 (9-4) Chased leaders far side, ridden over 1f out, led inside final furlong, headed close home, 2nd of 22, 1/2l behind Poet's Place (9-4) at Doncaster 6f hcp (2) gd in Sep.
Calm Bay (IRE) 10-1 (9-10) Close up and soon disputed lead, 2nd over 1f out, soon no impression under pressure and kept on same pace, 4th of 17, 1 3/4l behind Mini Chou (8-2) at Navan 5f Apprentice Handicap (50-90) (3yo+) gd.
Hitchens (IRE) 25-1 (9-6) Mid-division far side, headway well over 1f out, ridden to lead that group over 1f out, kept on, held by stands side leaders, 3rd of 26, 2 3/4l behind Redford (9-2) at Ayr 6f hcp (2) gd in Sep.
Invincible Ash (IRE) 10-1 (9-0) Prominent on stand's rail, ridden to dispute lead 1 1/2f out, headed under 1f out, kept on same pace, 6th of 15, 3 1/2l behind Astrophysical Jet (8-12) at Curragh 5f Grp 3 (1) gf in Aug.
Taajub (IRE) 10-1 (9-0) Held up in touch, ridden and weakened 2f out, 15th of 17, 17l behind Bewitched (9-1) at Ascot 6f Grp 3 (1) gs.
Velvet Flicker (IRE) 20-1 (9-2) Rear of mid-division, 7th halfway, no impression under pressure from over 1f out, 7th of 10, 10l behind Luisant (9-3) at Curragh 6f Listed stks (1).
Della'alba (IRE) 8-1 (9-6) Chased leaders, 7th halfway, weakened from under 2f out, 14th of 15, 8l behind Good To Follow (8-13) at Curragh 5f hcp in Sep.
Jaconet (USA) 14-1 (9-2) Chased leaders, ridden and lost place over 1f out, one pace final furlong, 6th of 10, 4 1/2l behind Rose Blossom (8-10) at York 6f flls Group 3 stks (1) gf in Jul.
Sampers (IRE) 7-2fav (9-0) Tracked leaders, 5th halfway, ridden early straight, no impression from over 1f out, 7th of 11, 5l behind Tweedy (9-2) at Dundalk 6f 3yo stks pol.
Tough Regime (IRE) 50-1 (8-0) Chased leaders on outer, no extra from under 2f out, 16th of 17, 14l behind Mini Chou (8-2) at Navan 5f Apprentice Handicap (50-90) (3yo+) gd.
Knock Stars (IRE) 8-1 (8-8) Tracked leaders, 4th halfway, headway under 2f out, led under 1f out, kept on well, comfortably, won at Naas 6f 2yo hcp gd beating Sydney Harbour (9-3) by 3/4l, 16 ran.
Ladie's Choice (IRE) 25-1 (8-11) Chased leaders far side, ridden over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 11th of 12, 7l behind Zebedee (9-0) at Doncaster 5f 2yo Grp 2 (1) gd in Sep.