If this contest had been run over a month ago then APACHEE PRINCE wouldn't have rated a mention but his latest effort when a close-up third to Vesperal Dream and No Substitute represented a dramatic shift in the right direction for the Whillans gelding. Mounting a strong late challenge, he came home to real effect and a similar performance here would see him pose a major threat to the two likely market leaders. This will tell us if that represented a one-off performance or not but he's worth taking a chance with, especially as Alan King's runner-up that day has since absolutely hacked up at Uttoxeter. Handmaid got the better of Never Never when the pair clashed at Bangor and there seems no obvious reason to believe that placings wont be confirmed here with Peter Bowen's mare looking the main danger.
Never Never (IRE) 2-1fav (10-12) With leader, led 3rd, not fluent last, driven flat, held on, won at Cartmel 2m 1f 4yo nov hdl (4) gd in May beating El Massivo (10-12) by nk, 8 ran.
Apachee Prince (IRE) 14-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, mistake 6th, headway on outside 3 out, challenged from next, stayed on, held by winner towards finish, 3rd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Vesperal Dream (11-5) at Aintree 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Jun.
Cliff Lane (IRE) 13-8 (10-13) Led, ridden and headed over 2f out, weakened inside final furlong, 3rd of 6, 31l behind Bobs Lord Tara (10-10) at Carlisle 2m 1f NH flat (6) sft in Mar.
Handmaid 7-4 (11-3) Tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd 3 out, ridden before next, kept on same pace, 3rd of 8, 7l behind Supreme Present (11-3) at Southwell 2m mrs nov hdl (4) gf in Jun.
Raifteiri (IRE) 8-1 (9-7) Led to 2nd, in touch, outpaced after 3 out, stayed on to chase leader briefly before last, no impression in 3rd flat, 3rd of 10, 10l behind Sohcahtoa (10-3) at Hexham 2m hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gd in Jun.
California Desert (IRE) 33-1 (10-8) Mid-division, slight mistake 3 out and ridden, soon no impression and kept on one pace, mistake 2 out, 7th of 15, 24l behind Triplets Joy (10-11) at Downpatrick 2m 6f mdn hdl gd in Jun.