DARK LANE is narrowly preferred to Proclaim, Bouvardia and Global City who can all have a case made out for them. David Barron's unexposed Namid gelding comes here on the back of a narrow victory at Haydock. Although he has gone up 4lb for that win he looks the type to continue progressing and as he has run well on this ground before we are loathe to desert him today. Also amongst the posse of recent winners are Proclaim and Bouvardia. The former chases a hat-trick after wins in the North and he must be a player, although slower ground and a 7lb rise in the weights makes life tougher. Bouvardia was last seen winning at Nottingham a fortnight ago but faces tougher competition this afternoon. Global City represents an in-form operation and he should derive plenty of improvement for a recent Salisbury reappearance where he wasn't fancied, whilst Calligrapher is held by Global City on their clash last October. The writing was on the wall from an early stage that day and he needs to bounce back to form. Rowayton and Shaws Diamond return after absences, whilst Bajan Tryst is rated better than his effort last time. Market moves for either Aldermoor or Able Master would make them of interest but it is Dark Lane who can shine brightest.
Aldermoor (USA) 3-1fav (9-2) Held up in rear, ridden well over 1f out, weakened final furlong, last of 8, 10l behind Anglezarke (8-11) at York 5f 3yo stk (2) gd.
Able Master (IRE) 4-1 (9-2) In touch, driven 2f out, soon ridden, stayed on under pressure to chase winner inside final furlong, 2nd of 6, 1 1/4l behind Jobe (8-12) at Hamilton 6f con stks (3) gs.
Proclaim 4-1 (9-2) In touch, led over 2f out, ridden out final furlong, won at Ripon 6f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gf in Apr beating Mazzola (8-4) by 2 1/2l, 8 ran.
Global City (IRE) 13-2 (9-2) Took keen hold, tracked leaders, keeping on one pace when edged left and not much room throughout final furlong, eased when held near finish, 4th of 9, 1 1/2l behind Instalment (9-7) at Salisbury 6f hcp 0-100 (2) gf.
Raggle Taggle (IRE) 33-1 (8-4) Mid-division, ridden over 1f out, weakening when carried right soon after, 15th of 16, 13l behind Look Busy (9-0) at Bath 5f fll lst stks (1) gd in Apr.
Calligrapher (USA) 4-5fav (9-4) Led 1f, tracked leaders afterwards, soon niggled along, ridden over 2f out, no impression over 1f out, weakened final furlong, 4th of 5, 9l behind Global City (9-4) at Lingfield 6f 2yo stks (4) pol in Oct.
Bouvardia Evensfav (8-9) Raced keenly, held up, improved to chase leader 2f out, led on bit and hung right approaching final furlong, soon in command, idled towards finish, won at Nottingham 6f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) fm beating Servoca (8-7) by 1 3/4l, 5 ran.
Akhenaten 16-1 (9-2) Held up in rear, raced keenly, some headway 2f out, soon no impression, 6th of 7, 5l behind Photographic (8-7) at Newmarket 1m hcp (2) gf.
Parisian Pyramid (IRE) 7-1 (9-3) Mid-division, effort over 2f out, no impression, 7th of 10, 6l behind Doctor Parkes (8-7) at Chester 5f hcp 0-100 (2) gf.
Timeteam (IRE) 20-1 (8-7) Held up, headway on outside over 2f out, pressed winner and every chance throughout final furlong, held near finish, 2nd of 9, nk behind Instalment (9-7) at Salisbury 6f hcp 0-100 (2) gf.
Rowayton 7-1 (9-6) Dwelt, pulled hard mid-division, edged left over 2f out, soon ridden, stayed on well final furlong, 4th of 9, 3/4l behind Whatyouwoodwishfor (8-9) at Great Leighs 6f 2yo hcp (3) pol in Nov.
Dark Lane 3-1fav (8-13) Raced keenly, held up, headway to lead over 1f out, ridden and held on well final furlong, won at Haydock 6f 3yo hcp 0-85 (4) gd beating Metroland (8-5) by hd, 12 ran.
Shaws Diamond (USA) 15-2 (9-5) Led, 2 lengths clear 1f out, pressed well inside final furlong and caught final strides, 2nd of 5, nk behind Changing The Guard (9-5) at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Mar.
Bajan Tryst (USA) 2-1 (8-11) Outpaced after 1f, behind, in rear over 2f out, tailed off over 1f out, last of 7, 39l behind Glamorous Spirit (8-12) at Kempton 5f hcp 0-85 (4) pol.