Brian Ellison launches a strong double-pronged assault on this prize via Bocciani and Odin's Raven, both course and distance winners. The former is turning into a thoroughly likeable, solid performer and only just failed here last time to defy a double penalty and must go well again. Odin's Raven scored rather cheekily here when dismissing the useful Strathcal and improvement seems assured but both will have to be at their best to deal with EMPRESS ORCHID. Donald McCain's mare has been a fine stable servant this term and confirmed her current wellbeing with a good effort in a competitive Stratford handicap.
Bocciani (GER) 7-1 (11-9) In touch, chased leaders in 3rd approaching 2 out, ridden and every chance run-in, no extra towards finish, 3rd of 11, 1 1/4l behind City Ground (10-0) at Sedgefield 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Empress Orchid 5-1 (11-12) With leader, led 3rd, hit 3 out, soon headed, kept on same pace from next, 2nd of 10, 2 1/4l behind Illysantachristina (10-3) at Stratford 2m 3f mrs hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gf.
Mr Tallyman 10-1 (10-9) Prominent, ridden approaching 2 out, soon weakened, 8th of 14, well behind What A Riddle (11-0) at Perth 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gf in May.
Odin's Raven (IRE) 8-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear and keen, headway before 3 out, jumped right 2 out, switched left and went 2nd before last, kept on to lead towards finish, won at Sedgefield 2m 1f mdn hdl (5) gf beating Strathcal (11-0) by 1l, 12 ran.
Arrow Barrow (IRE) 20-1 (10-7) Prominent and keen, went 2nd after 3 out, not fluent last, weakened run-in, 6th of 11, 12l behind Sendali (11-5) at Kelso 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in Mar.
Morning Time (IRE) 14-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, dropped into mid-division 3rd, weakened approaching 3 out, 9th of 14, 21l behind Grand Diamond (10-10) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gf in Oct.
The Tiddly Tadpole 13-2 (11-5) Tracked leaders, challenged 3 out, pressed winner from 2 out, kept on from last, held towards finish, 2nd of 12, 1/2l behind Mycenean Prince (10-12) at Sedgefield 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gf.
Cool Baranca (GER) 11-1 (9-8) Mid-division, chased leaders when blundered badly and lost bridle, jumped right 3 out, close up when pulled up before last, in a race won by King Mak (10-2) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in Mar, 10 ran.
Blazing Bay (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear, weakened from 4 out, tailed off, 8th of 15, well behind Lisdonagh House (10-3) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-100 (4) gs.
Cool Water 150-1 (10-8) Held up mid-division on inside, chased leaders before 3 out, weakening when not fluent 2 out, 4th of 9, 33l behind Scriptwriter (10-10) at Sedgefield 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Alfie's Pearl 22-1 (10-9) Took keen hold, chased leaders, went 2nd after 5th, led approaching 7th, ridden and headed after 3 out, weakened and no chance with leading duo before next, 3rd of 11, 26l behind Streamtown (10-12) at Sedgefield 2m 4f mrs nov hdl (4) sft in Mar.