Piazza San Pietro and Rough Rock arrive bang in-form but this is tougher for both and we prefer EXCELLENT GUEST. Our selection has struggled on his last two starts but both races were much tougher than this, and his previous second to Swilly Ferry in a Class Two handicap reads very well. He's still 3lbs higher but this drop in grade can see him score, with encouragement to be taken from the fact his sole success came over course and distance. Rough Rock loves it here - four of his five wins have been at this venue - and conditions are absolutely ideal. Clearly this rider gets on well with the horse too, but he's incurred a 6lb penalty for winning last time and that forces connections to step him up in class which may find him out. Similar comments apply to Piazza San Pietro, who is yet to win in this grade. Andy Haynes' runner has won four times in 2010 and rarely lets connections down, but he'll need a career best to win. Fathsta is a better class of horse at his best but he struggled throughout 2009 and that's continued this term. The handicapper seems reluctant to drop him in the weights and until he does David Simcock's runner is opposable. Imprimis Tagula is a credit to connections and both turf wins have come under this jockey but a 4lb rise and better quality of opponent can conspire to keep him out of the winners' enclosure. This is a fascinating sprint handicap and several have claims, none more so than Excellent Guest.
Green Manalishi 7-1 (9-13) Chased leaders on inside, pushed along halfway, soon beaten, last of 9, 20l behind Cornus (9-5) at Pontefract 6f hcp 0-90 (3) gf.
Fathsta (IRE) 14-1 (9-9) Held up towards rear, pushed along over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, not able to trouble leaders, 7th of 13, 2 1/2l behind Opus Maximus (9-9) at Chester 7f hcp 0-85 (4) gf in Jun.
Angus Newz 11-1 (8-4) Led 1f, chased winner, ridden and no impression over 1f out, 2nd of 6, 5l behind Elnawin (8-9) at Newmarket 5f cond Stakes (3) gf.
Imprimis Tagula (IRE) 12-1 (9-5) Chased leader, ridden 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 7th of 16, 8l behind Smarty Socks (10-0) at York 7f hcp 0-80 (4) gf.
Excellent Guest 12-1 (8-0) Dwelt, held up, never a factor, 11th of 20, 7l behind Fireback (8-1) at Newmarket 6f 3yo hcp 0-105 (2) gf.
Piazza San Pietro 3-1fav (9-9) Not much room after start, behind, smooth headway on outside 2f out, strong run and edged left inside final furlong, ran on to lead final 75 yards, won at Bath 5f hcp 0-75 (5) fm beating The Name Is Frank (8-7) by 1/2l, 10 ran.
Arabian Pearl (IRE) 9-4fav (9-10) Travelled strongly, close up, led 2f out, ridden and headed over 1f out, one pace and lost 3rd near finish, 4th of 10, 2 3/4l behind Flowing Cape (9-4) at Leicester 7f hcp 0-80 (4) gf in Jun.
Rough Rock (IRE) 5-2 (8-8) Tracked leader, ridden approaching 1f out, led inside final furlong, driven out, won at Yarmouth 6f hcp 0-75 (5) gf beating Whiskey Junction (9-12) by 1/2l, 4 ran.