The well-related VERDANT could prove a good deal better than this mark in time and is taken to land the odds at the expense of Monterosso and Green Moon. Sir Michael Stoute's three-year-old did very well to win a competitive race on his return as plenty went against him in running, so the signs are there that he's up to defying a 9lb penalty. It's encouraging that he was entered in the Dante - evidence of the regard in which he's held - and this son of Singspiel is related to several Pattern-class performers, so given that he's in the right hands to progress we're keen to stick with him, especially as the yard's runners are going well. Monterosso is another progressive handicapper representing a top yard and, despite the fact he's got an action that will win few admirers, he may not have stopped improving yet. That said the race he won at Ripon probably wasn't the strongest and the combination of a 5lb rise and step up in trip is enough for us to look elsewhere for the winner. Similar comments apply to Green Moon, although Harry Dunlop's charge is a handicap debutant. This gelding won nicely at Leicester and although the form is modest there's no telling how far he might progress as a son of Montjeu out of a dam who had plenty of speed; this trip is surely ideal. Right Step ran a promising race on his seasonal return in a contest that is beginning to work out so must be taken seriously along with Ingleby Spirit, although this is tougher than the race he took third in last time and the quicker ground may not be ideal. Mingun Bell has disappointed backers a few times already and looks to have it all to do off top weight so we'll return to Verdant.
Mingun Bell (USA) 13-2 (9-0) Tracked leaders, pushed along over 3f out, weakened 2f out, last of 6, 27l behind Take It To The Max (9-0) at Newmarket 1m 2f 2yo stk (2) gd in Oct.
Private Story (USA) 11-1 (8-13) Took keen hold early, held up, no real progress from over 2f out, 6th of 8, 6l behind Myplacelater (8-3) at Newbury 1m 2f con stks (3) gd in Apr.
Verdant 9-2fav (8-12) Held up, eased out left 3f out, headway 2f out, ran on well from over 1f out to lead and edge right inside final furlong, ran on, won at Sandown 1m 2f 3yo hcp 0-90 (3) gd in Apr beating Rock A Doodle Doo (8-9) by 1/2l, 14 ran.
Monterosso 11-2 (8-9) Towards rear, hampered when not much room on bend over 5f out, ridden over 4f out, headway 2f out, stayed on to lead twards finish, won at Ripon 1m 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gd in Apr beating Eleanora Duse (8-1) by nk, 9 ran.
Whistleinthewind (IRE) 2-1 (9-3) With leader 6f out, led entering final 2f, soon ridden clear and edged left, readily, won at Lingfield 1m 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Nov beating Rock My World (8-12) by 2 1/2l, 12 ran.
Blakey's Boy 22-1 (8-12) Dwelt and slightly hampered start, held up in last, nudged along and not looking comfortable over 2f out, never in contention, 7th of 8, 6l behind Fallen Idol (8-12) at Sandown 1m 3yo hcp 0-100 (2) gd in Apr.
Right Step 25-1 (8-13) Held up towards rear, headway over 2f out, ridden and every chance over 1f out, kept on, no chance with winner, 2nd of 12, 1 3/4l behind Wigmore Hall (9-4) at Newmarket 1m 2f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gf in Apr.
Exceedthewildman 17-2 (9-3) Slowly away, in rear, headway approaching 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 6th of 7, 4 1/2l behind Middle Club (8-12) at Kempton 1m 1f cnd stks (3yo) (2) pol in Mar.
Doctor Zhivago 16-1 (9-3) Raced far side, prominent, pushed along over 3f out, soon weakened, beaten when hampered 2f out, 13th of 16, 12l behind Coordinated Cut (9-3) at Newmarket 1m 2f 3yo aut stk (2) gd in Apr.
Ingleby Spirit 28-1 (9-4) Held up in rear, pushed along over 2f out, headway on outer over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, 3rd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Dandino (8-13) at Doncaster 1m 2f 3yo hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Apr.
Green Moon (IRE) 5-4fav (8-10) Made all, challenged from 2f out, stayed on well under pressure, won at Leicester 1m 2f mdn stks (5) gf in Apr beating Mataaleb (8-10) by 5l, 7 ran.
Aquarian Spirit 4-1 (9-4) Held up, never dangerous, 4th of 5, 6l behind Exemplary (9-2) at Leicester 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gf in Apr.
Dromore (IRE) 11-2 (9-3) Held up in 4th tracking leaders, effort over 2f out, soon challenging, disputing lead from over 1f out, until not pace of winner final 100 yards, kept on, went 2nd on line, 2nd of 5, hd behind Activate (8-12) at Kempton 1m 3f 3yo hcp 0-80 (4) pol in Apr.
Bonfire Knight 15-8 (8-4) Held up in touch, improved halfway, ridden and no impression over 2f out until ran on near finish, 3rd of 6, 2l behind Hacienda (9-4) at Beverley 7f 3yo hcp 0-90 (3) gf in Apr.
Muwalla 20-1 (9-4) Held up towards rear, ridden and headway over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 6th of 8, 4 1/2l behind Dandino (8-13) at Doncaster 1m 2f 3yo hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Apr.