RUSSIAN BULLET looks to have solid claims in this contest. He was beaten a half- length over C&D last month and is only 3lb higher today. Subsequent running gives him the beating of Essexvale and track and trip winner Lady Nickandy and he gets the nod. The latter scored here earlier when she had Lord Buffhead over four lengths behind, so the chief threat could come from Irish raider Drinmoy Lad. He improved to finish third at Dundalk in November and should be thereabouts if taking to the track.
Russian Bullet 9-4 (8-9) Held up in touch, headway over 1f out, stayed on under pressure, no chance with winner, 2nd of 7, 2 1/4l behind Sonko (9-7) at Lingfield 5f 3yo hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Lowtherwood 22-1 (9-3) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, ridden over 2f out, weakened final furlong, 4th of 5, 19l behind Rex Imperator (9-3) at Nottingham 6f 2yo mdn (5) gf in Aug.
Essexvale (IRE) 80-1 (8-4) Soon outpaced, never on terms, 5th of 6, 9l behind Ishiamiracle (7-13) at Southwell 5f 2yo mdn auc stks (6) fbs in Dec.
Lady Nickandy (IRE) 14-1 (9-3) Dwelt, soon chased leaders, weakened over 2f out, last of 9, 15l behind M J Woodward (9-2) at Southwell 6f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs.
Lord Buffhead 16-1 (8-11) Tracked leaders in 3rd, ridden 1f out, one pace, 3rd of 6, 4l behind Lady Caprice (9-1) at Wolverhampton 5f hcp (0-55) (6) pol.
Drinmoy Lad (IRE) 28-1 (8-7) Chased leader in 2nd, led 2f out, ridden and headed 1f out, no extra inside final furlong, kept on same pace, 3rd of 14, 2 1/2l behind Banner Road (8-8) at Dundalk 6f hcp 50-70 2yo pol in Nov.