BEN HALL lost his way at the end of last year but a three length defeat in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes in August is a better example of his ability. John Gosden's colt gets a speculative vote in what could prove an open contest. Steventon Star also returns to action having won a competitive sprint at Wolverhampton in December and Golden Amber ran well for third over track and trip last time. That looks superior form to Captain Secret, Lady Frances and Major Crispies' recent victories in Class 4 handicaps while Dundalk maiden winner American Hope is aimed high on his first start for new connections.
American Hope (USA) 4-1 (9-5) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, ridden 2f out, stayed on to challenge inside final furlong and led close home, won at Dundalk 6f 2yo mdn stks pol in Dec beating Chiclet (8-12) by shd, 14 ran.
Ben Hall (IRE) 14-1 (9-0) Mid-division, ridden halfway, never dangerous, 17th of 23, 10l behind Ventura Mist (8-7) at Redcar 6f Lstd auc stks (1) gf in Oct.
Major Crispies 7-2 (9-2) Raced wide tracked leaders, pressing leader when pushed wide bend 2f out, carried head high and led over 1f out, ridden and ran on, won at Lingfield 6f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) pol beating Drive On (9-0) by 2 1/4l, 7 ran.
Steventon Star 8-1 (9-7) Slowly into stride, last pair, headway 2f out, chased leaders over 1f out, ridden well inside final furlong, led post, won at Wolverhampton 6f 2yo hcp (2) pol in Dec beating Porteous (8-2) by shd, 9 ran.
Captain Secret 5-2 (9-7) Chased leaders, effort on outside over 3f out, led over 2f out, soon clear, very easily, won at Southwell 6f hcp 0-85 (4) fbs in Jan beating Queenie's Home (8-10) by 3 1/2l, 4 ran.
Golden Amber (IRE) 8-1 (9-5) Tracked leaders, ridden over 2f out, effort and every chance inside final furlong, not quicken near finish, 3rd of 9, 1/2l behind Harwoods Volante (9-3) at Lingfield 6f 3yo hcp (3) pol.
Lady Frances 5-2 (9-7) Quickly away, made all, ridden inside final furlong, ran on gamely, won at Wolverhampton 6f hcp 0-85 (4) pol beating Spreadable (8-5) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.