DESERT RECLUSE has to race off a stone higher than when last seen, but such was the manner of that success that he looks worth siding with again; Chink Of Light and Sounds Of Thunder can follow him home. Our selection has really benefitted for stepping up in trip since graduating into handicap company, having had the obligatory three runs in maidens as a juvenile. All of those came over seven, but the step beyond a mile worked wonders as he landed the spoils on his reappearance. A further step up to today's trip brought about even more improvement last time as the colt won head-in-chest at Wolverhampton, prompting drastic action from the assessor. This mark may well prevent further success, but he really was mightily impressive last time and the claim of Lee Topliss does help ease the burden. If he is to be beaten, then last time out victor Chink Of Light could be the one to oblige. Andrew Balding's charge won a maiden nicely at this track on his second start, benefitting too for a step up in trip. This extra furlong won't be a problem and he's open to plenty of improvement but carrying top weight on his handicap debut may prove too much. Sounds Of Thunder won nicely when last seen and has claims on his return with this trip likely to bring about some improvement, so he's rated more of a threat than Temple Fair who was comfortably swept aside despite having the race run to suit last time. Always De One attracted support when last seen and does stay the trip but she looks correctly assessed and a place may be her best hope, whilst Layla's Lad takes a big step up in trip but will need to improve markedly for it and that looks doubtful. In the hope that the handicapper hasn't quite got to him yet Desert Recluse is selected.
Chink Of Light 11-10fav (8-5) Chased leaders, pushed along over 2f out, soon edged left, picked up well over 1f out, led inside final furlong, ran on, won at Kempton 1m 3f mdn auc stks (6) pol in Feb beating Byblos (10-0) by 2 1/2l, 9 ran.
Sounds Of Thunder 7-2fav (9-7) Held up in touch, ridden over 1f out, led entering final furlong, kept on, won at Wolverhampton 1m 1f 2yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Nov beating Bubbly Braveheart (9-4) by 1 1/2l, 12 ran.
Desert Recluse (IRE) 13-8fav (8-6) Tracked leader, led over 2f out, came centre and clear over 1f out, comfortably, won at Wolverhampton 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol beating Second Brook (8-12) by 6l, 12 ran.
Yorksters Prince (IRE) 16-1 (8-2) Held up, never dangerous, last of 6, 2 3/4l behind Exceedthewildman (9-0) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) pol.
Layla's Lad (USA) 9-1 (9-4) Held up in rear, never near leaders, 7th of 10, 16l behind Azlak (9-3) at Lingfield 1m hcp 0-60 (6) pol.
Temple Fair (USA) 4-1 (8-3) Led, ridden and headed 2f out, outpaced from over 1f out, held on well for 2nd, 2nd of 5, 4l behind Keenes Royale (9-2) at Kempton 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Feb.
Always De One 4-1 (8-11) Intouch, ridden and effort 1f out, no impression inside final furlong, 4th of 12, 4l behind Usquaebach (8-11) at Lingfield 1m 2f 3yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol.