Il Bandito looked badly in need of the experience when seventh on his debut at Goodwood earlier this month, starting slowly and then pulling far too hard to play a hand at the business end of the race. He deserves extra credit under the circumstances for finishing as close as he did, still beaten only four and a half lengths, and it will be no surprise if he proves capable of taking a big step forward with that run under his belt.
USS Nimitz shaped well amidst greenness on his debut at Newmarket 12 days ago, showing fair form in fourth, six and a half lengths behind one who has since finished third in a Group 3. Mark Johnston’s charge is very much the one to beat here on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, and, with further improvement on the cards, this looks a good opportunity for him to get off the mark at the second attempt.
Kings Knight stepped up on his debut form when second at Windsor last month, ultimately going down by half a length after making the favourite work hard. That form sets the standard in this line-up and he may yet have even more to offer, so it’s hard to look past him in a minor event that lacks strength in depth.
Harrison Point proved better than ever when resuming winning ways at Ayr last time, hitting the front two furlongs out and keeping on gamely to land the spoils by a neck from Hajjam. That rival gave the form a boost when successful at the same venue on Monday, and, still relatively unexposed in the context of this race, Harrison Point has certainly shown enough to suggest a 2 lb higher mark won’t prove his limit.
Spring Bloom could be the way to go in a race where very few can be ruled out with total confidence. He looked well served by the drop back to five furlongs when belatedly opening his account at Thirsk earlier this month, while the balance of his form suggests a BHA mark of 75 is still workable on his return to handicaps.
Keep Busy ran to a smart level when second in a handicap at York last time, typically giving her all to go down by just half a length. Admittedly, this will be tougher against some battle-hardened sprinters, but she has the form in the book to be a player and looks sure to give another good account given how consistent she has proved this season, with more progress also not out of the question.
Throne Hall took a big step forward after 12 months off to shed his maiden tag at Hamilton two weeks ago, staying on strongly to win by two lengths with plenty in hand. Both the style of that performance and his pedigree (by Kingman and a half-brother to several winners) suggest an opening mark of 83 is more than fair, so he looks to hold sound claims in what is likely to prove an informative contest.
Dangeroffizz shaped encouragingly when second on his most recent outing over course and distance, keeping on well to be beaten just a short head. That form identifies him as the one to beat here according to Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings – even with a 5 lb higher mark taken into account – and he remains one to be positive about at this sort of level, with the race he won on his previous start at Ripon also working out well.
Prince Alex displayed a willing attitude when making a successful handicap debut at Windsor three weeks ago, and, with two next-time-out winners coming from that race, the form looks solid. Thrown in the fact that he may not have finished improving yet, then he remains one to bear in mind despite a 5 lb rise in the weights.