Some pretty decent sorts are engaged here in a small but select field for the prize money but we feel the lightly raced Mountain Bell (4/1) is the one to be on. Trained by Ralph Beckett, the three-year-old has only won a ten-furlong maiden so far from her three starts but did so impressively when beating Rex Bell by an easy ten lengths. Stepped up in to Listed class last time out at Lingfield in the Oaks trial she was a good third to Seventh Heaven and Architecture, and with the winner going on to take both the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks at Group One level, the form has a better than average look to it! her absence is the only real issue for us but her price more than makes up for that.
Foundation (5/2) is the dark horse here but has plenty to prove. John Gosden’s three-year-old was seen as a serious classic prospect after winning the Royal Lodge Stakes last season but has failed to make the grade since, leaving him very much on the comeback trail. Yet to win in four starts this season and with a third to Wings Of Desire perhaps his best effort, he will be trying this trip for the first time which may be seen as desperation – on the other hand, as a son of Zoffany it may well bring about plenty of improvement. He does get plenty of weight thanks to his age allowance and if he doesn’t run well here we really don’t know where they will be forced to go next.
David Simcock is as astute as they get in the training ranks and he has decided to send Desert Encounter (7/2) here from a list of possible entries earlier in the week. He won his maiden at the end of last season and three handicaps at the beginning of this so is a useful tool but was only third last time out at Haydock behind Tawdeea and Gold Prince in the Old Newton Cup. He is in form and cannot be ignored but this is a step up in class and at these weights he has plenty to find with some of his better rivals.
Mark Johnston’s horses always try their level best but surely Yorkidding (11/2) is outgunned here? He has won six of his twenty-seven starts and was third last weekend in a Listed raced at Baden Baden in Germany but this looks an awful lot tougher on paper and although he stays this and further others ought to have too much pace for him when the chips are down.
To end with, Hughie Morrison makes no secret of his high regard for Not So Sleepy (10/1) though he has a bit to prove after four starts this season without ever really threatening the judge. His best run was possibly a two length second to Articus at Hanover in a Group Three but that would not be good enough to get involved here though more rain can only aid her already slim chances.