DANCE THE STAR brings strong claims to the table and can get the better of Houghton and Factotum for starters. David Simcock's imposing colt looked pretty smart when scoring on his handicap bow at Lingfield and his subsequent defeat was all the more disappointing for it. However, he put that run behind him to win readily at Kempton at the start of the month and as that was an apprentice handicap he gets in here without a penalty. Houghton is not one of the yard's leading lights but he did offer a ray of hope when getting the better of habitual loser Mushtaaq. Some spin's required to put that form in a positive light but it was just the fifth run of his career and his first on an all-weather surface so it might pay not to be too harsh just yet. He had previously finished behind Factotum and the Cumani runner must be respected as the yard has a strike rate in excess of one in four at Dunstall Park. He's also a half-brother to Falbrav and could put up a bold show. Laurel Creek also has to be considered but Dance The Star is fancied to lead them home.
Factotum 5-2fav (9-7) Tracked leaders, tracked leader 7f out, led over 2f out, soon ridden, ran on final furlong, won at Leicester 1m 4f mdn stk (5) sft in Sept beating Princess Rainbow (8-7) by 2 1/2l, 9 ran.
Pass The Port 25-1 (8-4) Towards rear, headway when not much room over 2f, kept on final furlong, 4th of 13, 5l behind Meshtri (8-10) at Haydock 1m 6f hcp 0-90 (3) gf in Sept.
Casual Affair 11-1 (9-1) Tracked leader to 9f out, weakened over 2f out, last of 7, 23l behind Askar Tau (9-2) at Great Leighs 2m hcap (2) pol in Sept.
Dance The Star (USA) 11-8fav (9-4) Behind mid-division, driven along well over 2f out, headway to lead over 1f out, ran on strongly final furlong, driven out, won at Kempton 1m 4f app hcp (4) pol beating Gabier (9-5) by 3 1/2l, 9 ran.
Look To This Day 14-1 (8-12) Held up in rear, headway 2f out, kept on, never troubled leaders, 8th of 16, 9l behind Times Vital (8-10) at Newbury 1m 4f hcap (4) gd in Sept.
Houghton (IRE) 11-4fav (9-2) Mid-division, improved steadily from 4f out, chased leader over 2f out, ridden to lead 1f out, stayed on, won at Great Leighs 1m 6f mdn stk (5) pol in Sept beating Mushtaaq (9-2) by 2l, 13 ran.
My Mate Max 10-1 (9-7) Mid-division, headway over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, kept on, 2nd of 16, nk behind Cape Colony (9-7) at Pontefract 1m 4f 3yo hcp (5) gd in Jun.
Laurel Creek (IRE) 4-1jt-fav (9-6) 2nd of 14, nk behind Solo Performer (8-5) at Dundalk 1m 3f hcp 45-70 pol in Aug.