A chance is taken on the returning SPIRIT IS NEEDED with Mark Johnston's gelding preferred to The Last Alzao and Bollin Greta. The selection was pulled up on his debut at Leicester but made solid strides afterward, winning at Leicester before running well at Musselburgh behind Ascendant. He looks the sort of horse to progress further this season and although this trip is likely to be a minimum he could prove hard to peg back. Chookie Hamilton shouldn't be ignored after a profitable spell at the end of last year on the all-weather, Caster Sugar should be fit after two spins this year and is capable of winning off this mark of 79, whilst Pictorial is not discounted coming across from Ireland for this winnable prize. Ahlawy steps up in trip after staying on well to win here earlier in the month, Jawaab was a few lengths behind on that day, whilst The Last Alzao is respected on her seasonal return despite flopping at Nottingham when last seen. El Diego is capable of winning off this reduced mark, whilst King's Head and Bollin Greta remain of interest over this trip as the season progresses. Interesting fayre really, with just narrow preference being for Spirit Is Needed. [Nic Doggett]
Spirit Is Needed (IRE) 4-1 (9-4) Prominent, ridden to challenge well over 1f out, stayed on under pressure, just held, 2nd of 7, hd behind Ascendant (9-12) at Musselburgh 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Sep.
Chookie Hamilton 13-2 (9-4) Held up, improved to 4th over 3f out, ridden 2f out, weakened 1f out, 5th of 7, 15l behind King's Salute (8-11) at Lingfield 1m 5f hcp (3) pol in Nov.
Caster Sugar (USA) 10-1 (9-0) Held up last, some late headway from 2f out, never a factor, 7th of 11, 7l behind Putra One (8-11) at Windsor 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) sft.
Pictorial (USA) 25-1 (8-9) Took keen hold and led after 3f, ridden and joined entering straight, soon headed and weakened, 8th of 11, 5l behind Bravely Fought (9-9) at Cork 1m 2f hcap gf in Apr.
Ahlawy (IRE) 10-1 (8-8) Tracked leaders, ridden to lead approaching final furlong, driven out, won at Haydock 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) gf beating Prince Of Johanne (9-4) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Jawaab (IRE) 16-1 (8-12) Held up, headway to lead approaching final furlong, soon headed and weakened, 4th of 8, 3 1/2l behind Ahlawy (8-8) at Haydock 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) gf.
El Diego (IRE) 25-1 (8-8) Started slowly, towards rear, some headway into mid-division 5f out, weakened over 2f out, 9th of 11, 9l behind Hollow Green (8-10) at Windsor 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) sft.
The Last Alzao (IRE) 7-2fav (8-8) Held up mid-division, ridden over 3f out, weakened over 2f out, 8th of 9, 11l behind Leceile (9-0) at Nottingham 1m 2f 3yo fll hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Aug.
King's Head (IRE) 28-1 (8-12) Held up towards rear, headway over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, no extra entering final furlong, 7th of 12, 9l behind Russian George (9-2) at Haydock 1m 2f hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Apr.
Bollin Greta 4-1 (8-9) Mid-division, ridden over 1f out, no headway, 7th of 11, 13l behind Destinys Dream (8-5) at Thirsk 1m 4f hcp 0-80 (4) gd.