Handsome Stranger is a winner without a penalty after picking up an apprentices' race at Southwell last week. He'd earlier scored over track and trip so looks a leading contender in this. Understory was threatening to score at the turn of the year but has gone off the boil recently and Meddling makes more appeal after a recent second at Lingfield. Mr Lando remains in the handicapper's grip so the vote goes to ARABIAN HIEGHTS, a close-up fifth over today's trip last week having tumbled 19lb down the weights since last summer.
Understory (USA) 9-2 (9-3) Led, driven and headed 2f out, kept on same pace, weakened final furlong, 9th of 10, 7l behind Whitby Jet (9-5) at Lingfield 1m 2f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Feb.
Arabian Heights 14-1 (8-9) Mid-division, ridden and headway 2f out, no impression towards finish, 5th of 12, 1 1/4l behind Munsarim (9-3) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Handsome Stranger (IRE) 8-1 (8-9) Close up in rear, went 3rd 4f out, ridden over 2f out, led entering final furlong, pushed out, won at Southwell 1m 3f app hcp 0-75 (5) fbs beating Jacobs Son (9-5) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.
Alhaban (IRE) 10-1 (8-6) Tracked leaders, weakened over 2f out, last of 8, 11l behind Mahadee (8-4) at Kempton 1m 4yo clm stks 0-70 (6) pol in Feb.
Mr Lando 11-1 (9-0) Mid-division, headway on inside under pressure over 1f out, no impression inside final furlong, 6th of 12, 7l behind Dimitar (9-1) at Wolverhampton 7f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Feb.
Meddling 10-1 (8-7) Keen close up in last place, effort to press winner entering final furlong, no impression towards finish, 2nd of 4, 3/4l behind Waveguide (9-0) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Feb.
Sam Spade (IRE) 33-1 (8-11) In touch in mid-division on inside, pushed along 3f out, ridden and outpaced 2f out, no danger after, 7th of 12, 8l behind Spirit Of Gondree (9-7) at Kempton 1m hcp 0-60 (6) pol.