Staff Sergeant has only run here three times and won twice though he's 6lb higher than last month's victory. SHORT SHRIFT was making her debut here when winning comfortably on New Year's Day. That was only her second start for Richard Fahey and a 4lb rise doesn't look enough to prevent a follow-up. Afro had just over a length to spare over Yasir over 1m4f a fortnight ago and is another likely to make progress though the runner-up has been beaten subsequently and is closely matched with Monzino on earlier running.
Blades Lad 14-1 (9-10) Took keen hold in touch, lost place 5f out, tailed off, 11th of 12, well behind Royal Peculiar (9-9) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Sep.
Staff Sergeant 4-1 (9-6) Took keen hold, tracked leader 2f, remained handy in 3rd until pushed along and outpaced over 2f out, hung left over 1f out, rallied to well held 3rd final strides, 3rd of 5, 5l behind Disco Dave (8-9) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-65 (6) pol.
Yasir (USA) 3-1 (9-6) Ridden briefly leaving stalls, led over 10f out, headed 2f out, no extra close home, 3rd of 5, 1 1/4l behind My Lord (9-2) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Monzino (USA) 10-1 (8-12) Dwelt badly, behind and in touch after 1f, struggling over 5f out, no chance with leaders after, tailed off, last of 4, 28l behind Mr Burbidge (10-2) at Southwell 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs.
Persian Peril 33-1 (9-9) Took keen hold, held up towards rear, never a factor, tailed off, last of 14, well behind Duchess Of Gazeley (9-4) at Redcar 1m 6f hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Oct.
Arashi 50-1 (9-13) Dwelt raced wide always in rear, ridden 4f out, soon weakened, 11th of 12, 33l behind Fujin Dancer (11-0) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f am hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Dec.
Afro 5-2 (9-1) Stumbled start, chased leaders, took closer order halfway, led over 1f out, stayed on well, won at Southwell 1m 4f hacp 0-70 (5) fbs beating Yasir (9-10) by 1 1/4l, 4 ran.
Short Shrift (IRE) 4-1 (8-12) Tracked leader, led over 2f out, driven over 1f out, drew clear inside final furlong, kept on, won at Southwell 1m 4f hacp 0-70 (5) fbs beating Royal Marskell (9-5) by 2 1/4l, 5 ran.