MALICE OR MISCHIEF can return to winning ways in the opener. He landed a double in similar company last month but was caught napping off a slow pace last time when Better Self stole a march on him. The latter has every chance again but has since been beaten by Ad Vitam at Lingfield with Farmer's Wife further behind. Paco Belle has a bit to find with the selection on his latest running and recent Southwell winner Sofias Number One makes more appeal as he's equally adept on the Polytrack. Captain Sharpe returns from a lay-off and may need this.
Malice Or Mischief (IRE) 2-5fav (9-6) Tracked leader, ridden to chase winner over 1f out, one pace, 2nd of 4, 2 1/2l behind Better Self (8-0) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f 3yo clm stks (5) pol.
Ad Vitam (IRE) 8-1 (8-9) Held up in touch, ridden to lead approaching final furlong, held on well towards finish, won at Kempton 1m 3yo clm stks (6) pol beating Riot Police (9-3) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Sofias Number One (USA) 1-2fav (8-12) Tracked leaders, stayed far side,and went 2nd and going very easy over 2f out, led approaching final furlong, soon headed, switched right to center to join leader, ridden to lead inside final furlong, asserted near finish, won at Southwell 1m 3yo sell stks (6) fbs beating Tony Hollis (8-12) by 1/2l, 4 ran.
Captain Sharpe 10-1 (9-3) Chased leaders, hard ridden 2f out, stayed on under pressure inside final furlong, not pace to threaten leaders, 3rd of 9, 1l behind My Vindication (9-3) at Brighton 7f 2yo mdn aut (5) gd in Oct.
Better Self 7-4 (8-4) Dwelt, in rear, headway on outer over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, went 3rd last 100 yards, kept on towards finish, 3rd of 5, 1l behind Silly Billy (8-10) at Lingfield 7f 3yo clm stks (6) pol.
Paco Belle (IRE) 7-2 (8-8) Reluctant leader 2f, tracked leader, led again over 2f out, ridden and headed 1f out, one pace and lost 2nd near finish, 3rd of 4, 2 1/2l behind Malice Or Mischief (9-3) at Lingfield 1m 2f 3yo clm stks (6) pol in Feb.
Farmer's Wife 14-1 (8-4) Pushed along to chase leaders, soon took keen hold, ridden over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 5th of 8, 7l behind Ad Vitam (8-9) at Kempton 1m 3yo clm stks (6) pol.