Strike Force had looked in the handicapper's grip before popping up in a higher grade last time. He has the beating of Ortea on earlier form and should go close again. Monzino couldn't cope with the 1m4f trip here a week ago but landed a double last month that included a defeat of Stylistickhill while Going Grey posted a better effort when a close-up third on his latest start, though this is tougher. BASINGSTOKE makes his handicap debut on his first start for Keith Dalgleish and won't need to improve that much on his form on the Turf to come out best in this and he gets the nod.
Strike Force 8-1 (8-8) Held up in touch, headway 3f out, led 2f out, held on, won at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Jan beating One Scoop Or Two (8-10) by nk, 6 ran.
Ortea 8-1 (9-6) Held up mid-division, ridden over 1f out, switched right entering final furlong, stayed on, 4th of 9, 3l behind Idol Deputy (9-0) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Jan.
Basingstoke (IRE) 8-1 (8-10) Tracked leaders, ridden when rider dropped whip over 2f out, weakened well inside final furlong, 5th of 6, 5l behind Last Fighter (9-3) at Nottingham 1m 3yo mdn (5) sft in Oct.
Monzino (USA) 4-1 (9-12) Mid-division, headway 3f out, no extra well inside final furlong, 5th of 12, 6l behind Midnight Bahia (8-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp (0-55) (6) pol in Jan.
Six Silver Lane 33-1 (9-4) Soon led, set good pace until steadied 7f out, ridden and headed entering final 2f, weakened over 1f out, last of 8, 8l behind Purple 'n Gold (8-13) at Kempton 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan.
Elusive Hawk (IRE) 5-1 (11-6) Chased leaders, led over 2f out, ridden well over 1f out, headed over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 7th of 17, 12l behind Desert Creek (11-3) at Leicester 7f am hcp 0-70 (5) sft in Oct.
Stylistickhill (IRE) 12-1 (9-5) Held up, headway over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, 3rd of 10, 3 1/2l behind Monzino (8-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Jan.
Going Grey (IRE) 7-1 (9-0) Tracked leaders, effort on inside over 1f out, soon ridden, kept on and every chance well inside final furlong, held towards finish, 3rd of 7, 1l behind Royal Sea (8-8) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Jan.