A hard race to call with not much separating the field on today's terms. The Hannon yard have a good record in this so Expert is worth considering and Sir Robert Cheval represents last year's winning trainer. Alutiq was highly tried last term and won a conditions race here on his return while American Hope chased home the 97-rated Ben Hall over 6f at the track last time. Ryan Moore partnered today's mount Brazos to victory at Goodwood last season and Pool House and Bow Creek are winning handicappers to note. ERTIJAAL was put away after picking up a maiden race at Yarmouth in June in impressive style. Entries in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh suggest he's held in high regard and Willie Haggas' charge gets the vote on his return.
American Hope (USA) 10-1 (9-2) Held up in touch in rear, jinked right and became unbalanced approaching 2f out, headway entering final furlong, ridden to challenge winner inside final furlong, not quicken near finish, 2nd of 6, 1/2l behind Ben Hall (9-2) at Lingfield 6f cond stks (3) pol in Feb.
Bow Creek (IRE) 6-4fav (9-2) Led, ridden over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, faded towards finish, 4th of 5, 11l behind Lady Heidi (8-11) at Pontefract 1m 2yo lst stk (1) hvy in Oct.
Brazos (IRE) 14-1 (8-12) In touch towards rear, ridden 2f out, not clear run and switched right over 1f out, stayed on towards finish, not reach leaders, 4th of 8, 3 1/2l behind Miracle of Medinah (8-12) at Newmarket 7f 2yo Grp 3 (1) gd in Sep.
Ertijaal (IRE) 1-4fav (9-5) Made all, shaken up 2f out, ran on, eased final furlong, unchallenged, won at Yarmouth 6f 2yo mdn (5) gf in Jun beating Exceeder (9-5) by 6l, 4 ran.
Expert (IRE) 7-2 (8-8) Tracked leader, ridden to challenge over 1f out, soon every chance, driven to lead inside final furlong, won at Newmarket 6f cond stks (3) sft in Nov beating Mar Mar (9-8) by 1 3/4l, 4 ran.
Major Crispies 3-1 (8-11) Tracked leaders, effort inside final furlong, not quicken towards finish, 3rd of 6, 1 1/2l behind Ben Hall (9-2) at Lingfield 6f cond stks (3) pol in Feb.
Oriental Relation (IRE) 4-6fav (9-5) Tracked leaders in 4th, led inside final furlong, held on well, won at Kempton 6f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Jan beating Harwoods Volante (9-7) by 3/4l, 6 ran.
Pool House 11-4fav (8-11) Tracked leader, ridden and every chance inside final furlong, ran on to lead final strides, won at Lingfield 7f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) pol beating Harwoods Volante (9-1) by hd, 7 ran.
Sir Robert Cheval Evensfav (9-3) Led, ridden and not quicken inside final furlong, headed towards finish, 2nd of 5, 1l behind Complicit (9-3) at Lingfield 7f Conditions Stakes (2yo) (2) pol in Nov.
Steventon Star 5-1 (9-9) In touch in rear, ridden over 1f out, ran on to go 3rd inside final furlong, not trouble leaders, 3rd of 7, 1 3/4l behind Pool House (8-11) at Lingfield 7f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) pol.
Alutiq (IRE) 5-4fav (8-11) Steadied start, held up tracking leaders, pushed along on outside 2f out, ridden and went 2nd over 1f out, closed under pressure inside final furlong to lead close home, won at Kempton 6f cond stks (2) pol in Jan beating Oriental Relation (9-2) by 1/2l, 6 ran.
Lilbourne Lass 8-1 (8-12) Tracked leader, pushed along over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, last of 6, 5l behind Joyeuse (8-12) at Salisbury 6f 2yo fll Listed stks (1) gf in Sep.
Wee Jean 7-2 (9-7) Tracked leader, ridden and slightly outpaced over 1f out, stayed on towards finish, 3rd of 8, 3/4l behind Drive On (8-5) at Lingfield 7f 2yo hcp (2) pol in Dec.