Hard Toffee shaped with more encouragement on his penultimate outing at Lingfield, keeping on well to take third in a race that is proving strong form (the runner-up has completed a hat-trick since).
Admittedly, Hard Toffee failed to confirm the promise of that effort when well held over C&D last time, but he could be worth another chance now dropping significantly in grade, with the pick of his form – including a pair of C&D wins in 2018 – very much setting the standard.
Officer Drivel and Telekinetic are others with claims.
Scherzo caught the eye when second on her debut at Newcastle last month, green early on but finishing to good effect to be beaten just three quarters of a length. That form sets the standard here by some margin, and with further improvement on the cards (especially now stepping up two furlongs in trip), she looks to hold sound claims of going one better.
Festive Love has a similar profile and could be the one to give the selection most to do, leaving the newcomer Margueritedevalois to complete the shortlist.
Vincenzo Coccotti wasn’t seen to best effect when down the field at Lingfield two weeks ago, with his wide draw/position putting him on the backfoot throughout. Beaten only narrowly by Krazy Paving on his previous start over C&D, he could go one better here if enjoying a bit more luck than he did last time, with a BHA mark of 53 still appealing as fair.
Krazy Paving is clearly thriving at present but may struggle to uphold the placings with the selection on these revised terms, so it could be Maid Millie who emerges as the chief threat.
True Belief has been knocking on the door of late and shaped well when second on his most recent outing at Kempton, just running out of time to catch a winner who was himself pretty well treated.
A 2 lb higher mark still looks workable on that evidence, and this provides him with a good opportunity to gain the win his recent consistency has deserved, with Mount Wellington and Royal Dynasty feared most of the remainder.
Vexed was possibly unlucky not to win his most recent outing at Lingfield, forced to wait for a gap at a crucial stage and doing well under the circumstances to go as close as he did, ultimately never nearer than the head he was beaten at the line.
He certainly showed enough to suggest that his turn could be near, and, with the return to further here expected to suit, today could be the day he opens his account.
Social City and Colwood are others who might have a say in proceedings.
Papa Stour could be the way to go in what looks a competitive finale despite the small field.
Admittedly, he struggled from his revised mark at Newcastle last time – 8 lb higher than when winning over C&D the time before – but the manner of that emphatic success is still fresh in the memory and a return to this venue could see him take another step forward on just his fourth start for the Stuart Williams yard.
Havana Rocket looks best of the rest if fully wound up after 10 months off, along with the well-handicapped C&D winner Samphire Coast.