Ascension landed back-to-back novices at Salisbury and Newcastle last summer, improving plenty on the first occasion and making the most of a good opportunity to follow up three weeks on.
He failed to improve on that effort at this venue subsequently, but he really caught the eye when an excellent third on his reappearance at Sandown earlier this month, shaping with considerable promise in a race where things didn’t go right for him, slowly away and then rushed into contention a bit too quickly.
He looked well handicapped on that day, and this could prove a good opportunity for him to gain compensation from the same mark.
A winner at Pontefract and Salisbury last season, Desert Icon continued to progress well throughout 2019, notably when twice finding only one too good in a couple of solid handicaps here and at Beverly. He shaped encouragingly after nine months off on his reappearance over this course and distance earlier this month, typically travelling well but short of room over two furlongs out, not unduly punished as he finished fourth.
That was his first effort since being gelded, and the good-looking son of Sea The Stars remains relatively lightly-raced. He still has scope for further improvement, and with cheekpieces applied for the first time here, he is a confident selection from a mark he could prove better than.
Pogo had some solid form in competitive handicaps as a three-year-old, and he ran up to his best on his return earlier this month, a shade unlucky in fact as he finished a half-length second at this venue.
He built on that reappearance with a good third in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot 11 days ago, confirming he’s returned an improved model this season, and a reproduction of either of those efforts would put him firmly in the mix here.
Timeform’s tips for Sunday’s racing