WEST END LAD is taken to get the better of Barataria and Hilbre Court in this open handicap. The selection is a course and distance winner and the manner of his success here last time out marked him down as one to stay on the right side of. He had Hilbre Court behind him that day, and although that rival is entitled to get closer on these terms, Hilbre Court looks like he is more at home on the polytrack. Robin Bastiman's Barataria goes particularly well here but he was disappointing last time and there is a suspicion that the handicapper may now be catching up with him. Rock Anthem only found a progressive sort too good at Kempton last time and he is another that should be thereabouts at the finish. A tough start to proceedings and the vote is given to West End Lad.
Bahamian Lad 9-1 (8-7) Prominent, every chance over 2f out, weakened inside final furlong, 7th of 10, 3l behind Mister New York (8-12) at W'hampton 6f 3yo hcp (4) pol.
West End Lad 9-2 (9-2) Chased leaders, led 3f out, headed 2f out, led again approaching final furlong, driven out, won at Southwell 1m hcp 0-65 (6) fbs in Jan beating Vogarth (8-8) by 2l, 14 ran.
Barataria 1-2fav (9-5) Held up, headway 3f out, one pace final 2f, 3rd of 8, 3l behind Kingsholm (9-4) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-65 (6) fbs in Dec.
Rock Anthem (IRE) 9-2 (8-12) Soon led, ridden approaching 2f out, headed over 1f out, one pace, 2nd of 9, 2 1/2l behind Fancy Footsteps (8-11) at Kempton 1m hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Jan.
Lord Theo 7-1 (9-4) Led, headed over 1f out, faded, 8th of 9, 9l behind Risque Heights (9-6) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Dec.
Strategic Knight (USA) 33-1 (9-13) Soon led, ridden and headed inside final 3f, gradually weakened over 2f out, 10th of 11, 10l behind Thief of Time (8-8) at Lingfield 1m mdn stk (5) pol in Jan.
Hilbre Court (USA) 16-1 (9-2) Behind, headway well over 1f out, one pace, 3rd of 14, 4l behind West End Lad (9-2) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-65 (6) fbs in Jan.
Inside Story (IRE) 11-2 (9-3) Dwelt, towards rear, switched left over 1f out, headway, continued to go left approaching final furlong, not reach leaders, 7th of 12, 4l behind Tender Process (9-4) at W'hampton 7f hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Jan.
Bury Treasure (IRE) 33-1 (8-5) Held up, never dangerous, 8th of 10, 11l behind Clear Sailing (9-6) at Great Leighs 1m 2f sll (5) pol in Jan.
Bespoke Boy 20-1 (9-5) Mid-division, headway over 1f out, never on terms, 4th of 10, 4l behind Samurai Warrior (9-0) at Great Leighs 1m 2f app hcp (6) pol in Jan.
Betteras Bertie 3-1 (8-9) Started slowly, held up towards rear, headway 2f out, kept on final furlong, 3rd of 10, 2l behind Mambo Sun (9-4) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-60 (6) fbs in Jan.
Moment of Clarity 25-1 (8-6) Tracked leader on inside, ridden and effort 2f out, no extra and weakened rapidly over 1f out, 13th of 14, 11l behind Can Can Star (9-7) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Jan.