A competitive affair despite the small field. Lakeman has been running well in claimers here and The Lock Master has chased home the highly progressive Dubai Hills on his last two starts. Ace Of Spies is in fine form but has yet to win over a mile and it should be noted that Bentley's recent wins, both on the Polytrack and here, came on a slow track. However, he should still go close and confirm earlier form with Exopuntia in the process. A C&D winner back in November, UBENKOR has been placed in better company on his last two starts. This drop in class could prove the telling factor and on that basis he gets the vote.
Ace of Spies (IRE) 11-1 (9-11) With leader on inside, led 3f out, ridden and headed over 2f out, 3rd and one pace over 1f out, 3rd of 7, 3l behind Master Leon (9-4) at Southwell 7f hacp 0-70 (5) fbs.
Bentley 4-1 (9-11) Led narrowly, ridden and headed 2f out, kept on same pace, always held final furlong, 2nd of 7, 2 1/4l behind Powerful Presence (8-11) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-60 (6) fbs.
Ubenkor (IRE) 7-2 (8-7) In touch led after 2f, ridden well over 1f out, kept on until headed and no extra final 100 yards, 2nd of 6, 2l behind General Tufto (9-1) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-75 (5) fbs in Dec.
The Lock Master (IRE) 10-1 (9-3) Behind on outside, outpaced 3f out, ridden and headway over 2f out, stayed on to go narrow 2nd inside final furlong, no chance with winner, 2nd of 8, 8l behind Dubai Hills (9-5) at Southwell 7f hacp 0-70 (5) fbs.
Lakeman (IRE) 4-1 (8-8) Chased leading pair, switched right and headway 2f out, soon ridden and every chance, stayed on to go clear 2nd final furlong, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Ours (9-9) at Southwell 1m clm stks (6) fbs.
French Art 17-2 (9-4) Pulled hard in touch, chased leaders over 3f out, weakened well over 1f out, 7th of 11, 13l behind April Fool (9-4) at Kempton 1m hcp (0-65) (6) pol in Oct.
Exopuntia 4-6fav (8-10) Slowly into stride, chased leaders, under pressure halfway, stayed on approaching final furlong, never able to challenge, 4th of 6, 5l behind Amary (9-7) at Southwell 7f hcp 0-70 (5) fbs.