Last week's Wolverhampton second Red Kestrel has to go on the short-list as he drops into this grade for the first time. Grand Diamond has been in fair form over hurdles lately, while Eton Fable won over this trip at Southwell three runs ago. But preference is for RELATIVE STRENGTH, who was a decent handicapper when with Andrew Balding and made a winning start for Frank Sheridan in first-time blinkers at Wolverhampton last month.
Eton Fable (IRE) 3-1 (9-5) Tracked leaders, ridden over 4f out, driven and chance over 1f out, switched left and kept on one pace final furlong, 4th of 8, 2 1/2l behind Sir Haydn (8-6) at Southwell 1m 4f sell stks (6) fbs in Mar.
Relative Strength (IRE) 11-8 (8-12) Tracked leaders, ridden to chased leader over 2f out, driven to lead well inside final furlong, won at Wolverhampton 1m 4f 4yo clm stks 0-70 (6) pol in Mar beating Humor Me Rene (8-9) by 3/4l, 5 ran.
Grand Diamond (IRE) 8-1 (11-7) Held up, headway from 2f out, kept on inside final furlong, never nearer, 6th of 16, 7l behind Miami Gator (11-2) at Doncaster 1m stks 0-70 (5) gd in Sep.
Red Kestrel (USA) 9-2 (9-6) Led, hard ridden and headed over 1f out, no extra closing stages, 2nd of 6, 4l behind Accumulate (8-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 6f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Mar.
Royal Straight 6-1 (8-12) Held up towards rear, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, 7th of 9, 31l behind Best Prospect (9-1) at Ayr 1m 2f hcp 0-80 (4) hvy in Oct.
Plus Ultra (IRE) 9-2 (8-12) Tracked leaders, ridden 3f out, chance 2f out, kept on one pace final furlong, 3rd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Honest Broker (9-0) at Hamilton 1m 1f clm stks (5) gd in Aug.