This is always a strong maiden, and though there are some interesting newcomers on show, notably Keeper and Royal Champion, they will have to be well above average to turn over TOROMONA who shaped well when second to a nice type of Sir Michael Stoute’s on debut at Sandown last time.
Given his pedigree and yard, he was weak in the market on that occasion, but showed he has plenty of ability and he can emulate his stablemate Ghaiyyath who won this race in 2017.
LAST SUNSET looked a nice type when making a winning debut at Kempton in July and she has done little wrong since, finishing runner-up to a couple of potentially smart types.
She appreciated the step up to this trip at Ascot last time, leading early in the straight and only headed well inside the final furlong.
That was a good performance trying to give the winner 6lb that day, and an opening mark of 82 could well underestimate her.
BETSEY TROTTER bounced back to form in no uncertain terms when accounting for 19 rivals at Thirsk last time and, if in the same form here, she’ll take plenty of stopping off this 6lb higher mark – the same mark off which she scored on the all-weather last October.
The consistent Gale Force Maya probably doesn’t have much in hand off her current mark, but she is feared most nonetheless.
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LA BARROSA cost 750,000 guineas as a yearling and looked potentially smart when making a winning debut at Ascot earlier this month, impressing by how he made up ground from the rear in what was a slowly-run race.
That form is working out well with two subsequent winners coming out of it, notably the third Greatgadian who bolted up at Wolverhampton.
There should be plenty more to come from La Barrosa and he makes plenty of appeal up in grade.
MILDENBERGER hasn’t been seen on the track since an excellent second in the Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle back in June, but he is the class act in this field and, having gone well fresh before, is hard to oppose in this less exacting company.
Last year’s winner Withhold looks the one to give Mark Johnston’s smart stayer most to do, especially if he gets his own way in front.
HAWRIDGE FLYER possibly found the race coming too soon last time, disputing the lead at the end of the back straight, but dropping away tamely from three furlongs out.
With that in mind, he’s worth another chance having been a decisive winner from 2lb higher over this course and distance in the past.
Grand Bazaar is a straightforward sort who has done little wrong this year and he’s considered the main threat.
FIRST WINTER displayed a willing attitude when successful on his first try over a mile at Sandown a month ago and with the form of that race working out pretty well, a 3lb rise is unlikely to prevent a very bold follow-up bid.
King Ragnar’s runner-up effort at Yarmouth last week was a personal best and he has the same mark to work with, so he’s the obvious threat.
Impossible to rule any of the quintet out here. However, preference is for Hugo Palmer’s ZORAN, who has finished runner-up on his last two starts in handicaps and seems sure to go well again.
Voice Of Calm wasted no time getting back to form at Sandown last time and she narrowly gets the vote for the forecast spot.
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