This is a cracking contest for the time of year and the form may be worth following in the weeks ahead. Lady Cecil has high hopes for Retirement Plan this year and the Yorkshire Cup and Coronation Cup entry will probably make a bold bid to defy top weight. Sir Michael Stoute has sent up Stomachion from Newmarket. He came good in the autumn and should have more to offer this year while Bayan Kasirga won three of his final four starts in 2013. Elidor won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot last June and Linguine, Double Discount and A Star In My Eye also boasted some decent winning form while Sirvino often pops up when least expected. DARK RULER has a lot more to do than when scoring on his reappearance at Doncaster but his yard has made a strong start to the season and he won't be lacking in fitness. If he can hold his position at the first turn, Alan Swinbank's charge could go close off a low weight.
Retirement Plan 4-1 (9-5) Disputed 2nd, led over 2f out, soon edged right, ridden and stayed on strongly final furlong, won at Goodwood 1m 3f 3yo hcp 0-90 (3) gd in Aug beating Goodwood Mirage (9-6) by 3l, 13 ran.
Aviator (GER) (10-5) 2nd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Celtic Celeb (10-5) at Fontainebleau(FR) 1m 5f stks sft in Oct.
Elidor 12-1 (9-4) Held up in last pair, headway on outside over 2f out, went 3rd over 1f out, no impression, 3rd of 7, 2l behind Big Thunder (9-5) at Haydock 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) gd in Sep.
Sirvino 20-1 (9-7) Always towards rear, 10th of 13, 21l behind White Nile (9-1) at Doncaster 1m 7f hcp (3) sft in Oct.
Linguine (FR) 12-1 (9-0) Led, ridden over 2f out, headed over 1f out, weakened last 75 yards, 5th of 13, 4l behind White Nile (9-1) at Doncaster 1m 7f hcp (3) sft in Oct.
Tepmokea (IRE) Evensfav (9-6) Led, ridden 3f out, driven when headed narrowly well inside final furlong, ran on, 2nd of 6, nk behind Cai Shen (9-6) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f clm stks (5) pol.
Double Discount (IRE) 9-2 (8-13) Mid-division, ridden over 2f out, no impression, hanging left over 1f out, 6th of 8, 7l behind Ennistown (8-12) at Haydock 1m 2f hcp 0-95 (3) sft in Sep.
Herostatus 33-1 (9-4) Reluctant to start and slowly away, always in rear, 16th of 18, 44l behind Broxbourne (9-0) at Goodwood 2m 5f hcp 0-95 (2) gs in Jul.
O Ma Lad (IRE) 33-1 (9-0) In rear, ridden over 2f out, never near leaders, 8th of 12, 8l behind Thomas Hobson (9-2) at Doncaster 1m 4f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Oct.
Twelve Strings (IRE) 20-1 (8-4) In rear, ridden and headway over 2f out, weakened final furlong, 9th of 23, 22l behind Conduct (9-2) at Doncaster 1m 4f hcp (2) sft in Nov.
Bayan Kasirga (IRE) 6-1 (8-5) Close up early, steadied back, held up, headway over 1f out, soon short of room, edged left inside final furlong, quickened to lead towards finish, ran on, won at Musselburgh 1m 5f hcp (3) gf in Oct beating Hawdyerwheesht (9-4) by 1 1/4l, 13 ran.
A Star In My Eye (IRE) 11-2 (9-3) Made virtually all, ridden and hung left from over 2f out, clear inside final furlong, kept on well, won at Beverley 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-85 (4) gd in Sep beating Chant (8-11) by 5l, 5 ran.
Bute Hall 25-1 (8-7) Tracked leaders, ridden over 3f out, close up 2f out, stayed on same pace inside final furlong, 3rd of 11, 3 1/2l behind Blue Wave (9-4) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp 0-100 (2) pol in Feb.
Stomachion (IRE) 10-11fav (9-4) Dwelt led after 1f, headed over 6f out, led again 3f out, made rest, clear over 1f out, comfortable, won at Yarmouth 1m 3f hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Oct beating The Ducking Stool (9-0) by 4 1/2l, 9 ran.
Dark Ruler (IRE) 9-2 (8-12) In touch, ridden over 3f out, led entering final furlong, held on well, won at Doncaster 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) sft in Mar beating High Office (8-8) by 1l, 16 ran.
Freewheel 33-1 (9-3) Mid-division, weakened over 2f out, 15th of 22, 26l behind Brae Hill (9-9) at Doncaster 1m hcp (2) sft in Mar.