Barry Hills has a good record in this race in recent times and Esaar is sure to be popular but the yard are struggling for winners whilst Balducci let down his supporters at Lingfield so the tentative suggestion is HARVEST DANCER. The selection still has an entry in the season's first Classic so will be needing to win his maiden with a degree of comfort if he's to take his place in the line-up next May. The Danehill Dancer colt shaped well on his debut at Newbury in a fair maiden and can be expected to improve this season. The vibes were positive surrounding Esaar last season and he just about sets the standard despite having failed to fulfil expectations. It would be no surprise to see him win but he was only just in front of the selection on debut and didn't make as much progress as might have been anticipated between his first and second start. Balducci was very well backed last time and his yard continues in fine form so he may be worth another chance whilst there are the usual host of likely looking types from top yards in opposition but a chance is taken with Harvest Dancer.
Alkhataaf (USA) 4-1 (9-3) Held up towards rear, pushed along over 2f out, always behind, 13th of 14, 17l behind Pastoral Player (9-3) at Newbury 6f 2yo mdn (4) gf in Sep.
Balducci 6-5fav (8-10) Tracked winner, challenged over 1f out, soon not pace of winner and lost 2nd post, 3rd of 11, 3 1/2l behind Al Farahidi (8-10) at Lingfield 1m mdn stks (4) pol in Mar.
Count Of Anjou (USA) 8-11fav (9-3) Prominent, led over 1f out, soon ridden, headed towards finish, 2nd of 10, 1/2l behind Bramshaw (9-3) at Kempton 7f 2yo mdn stks (5) pol in Nov.
Craicajack (IRE) Avonbridge colt out of Rash Gift.
Esaar (USA) 10-11fav (9-3) Soon pressing leader, led 2f out, ridden inside final furlong, edged left and headed towards finish, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Swiss Cross (9-3) at Newmarket 7f 2yo mdn (4) gf in Oct.
Excellent Aim Exceed And Excel colt out of Snugfit Annie.
Fair Trade 40-1 (9-3) Went left start, chased leaders after 1f, ridden over 2f out, ran on strongly inside final furlong to take 2nd, gaining on winner towards finish, 2nd of 13, hd behind Invincible Soul (9-3) at Newmarket 1m 2yo mdn (4) gd in Oct.
Harvest Dancer (IRE) 7-1 (9-3) Chased leaders, driven and headway over 2f out, led approaching final furlong, headed and no extra closing stages, 4th of 11, 1 1/2l behind Najd (9-3) at Newbury 7f 2yo mdn (4) gf in Aug.
Safwaan Selkirk colt out of Kawn.
State Gathering 33-1 (9-3) Raced far side in touch, ridden over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 9th of 16, 9l behind Asraab (9-3) at Newmarket 6f 2yo mdn (4) gd in Oct.
Timeless Stride (IRE) Kyllachy gelding out of Trois Heures Apres.