MASTERCRAFTSMAN is a rattlingly good two-year-old and he can claim a third Group One win here. He beat subsequent Middle Park winner Bushranger in the Phoenix Stakes before overcoming horrendous conditions to land the National Stakes last month. Desert Phantom is unbeaten in three races to date but this is a huge step up from the Ripon race he contested last time and recent Longchamp winner Naaqoos looks the one for the forecast spot.
Naaqoos (9-0) won at Longchamp 7f 2yo stk gd in Sept beating Roi Des Sables (8-10) by 2l, 5 ran.
Desert Phantom (USA) (9-2) Led, driven and headed over 1f out, rallied inside final furlong to regain lead post, won at Ripon 6f 2yo lst stk (1) gs in Aug beating Favourite Girl (8-11) by a nk, 6 ran.
Mastercraftsman (IRE) (9-1) Settled 3rd, 2nd from 2 1/2f out, ridden to challenge from under 1 1/2f out, disputed lead inside final furlong, led last stride, all out, won at Curragh 7f 2yo Grp 1 hvy in Sept beating Shaweel (9-1) by a shd, 7 ran.
Intense Focus (USA) (9-0) Tracked leaders, 5th halfway, 4th under 2f out, kept on final furlong, 3rd of 18, 1 1/2l behind Soul City (9-0) at Curragh 7f aut stk gs in Sept.
Sea of Marmara (USA) (9-1) Set fast pace, driven along and headed over 3f out, soon weakened, trailing when eased over 1f out, last of 7, well behind Mastercraftsman (9-1) at Curragh 7f 2yo Grp 1 hvy in Sept.
Milanais (FR) (8-11) 2nd of 6, 1/2l behind Soul City (8-11) at Longchamp 7f Grp 3 (1) hvy in Sept.
Higha (FR) (8-13) 2nd of 6, 1l behind Homebound (8-13) at Deauville 7f lst stk (1) gd in Aug.