The second division of this sprint handicap looks easier to solve than the first with DIAMOND BLADE a strong fancy to continue his upward curve from Hollow Jo and Nabeeda. Tim Easterby has his runners in fine fettle and this one advertised that fact when returning from a break to score from Cool Sands who runs in the preceding contest. That course and distance victory was only the gelding's twelfth start and with further improvement likely on his second run of the winter it's easy to make a case for this one starting favourite and duly obliging. Hollow Jo is potentially the biggest danger to our selection off top weight. The veteran has been performing with credit of late and should find six furlongs here ideal so, down 2lbs for a good run last time, rates a player. Similar comments apply to Nabeeda who has his limitations but goes well enough here, as shown by two placed efforts off higher marks than this in January. Mel Brittain's gelding hasn't been seen out since May though and is therefore passed over with fitness potentially an issue. Dickie Le Davoir and Kinigi both enjoy Southwell's surface and should be suited by returning to six furlongs, both having run well in First Swallow's race in November. Neither keeps any secrets from the handicapper though and they may struggle to contain the unexposed and improving Diamond Blade.
Hollow Jo 11-1 (9-1) Held up and off pace, effort on inside 2f out, kept on one pace inside final furlong, 4th of 12, 5l behind Steelcut (8-10) at Kempton 6f clm stks 0-70 (5) pol in Sep.
Dancing Wave 40-1 (8-8) Narrow lead to 4f out, led again 3f out, headed approaching final 1f, kept on, 2nd of 15, 3/4l behind Another Try (9-5) at Yarmouth 6f hcp 0-60 (6) gf in Oct.
Diamond Blade 13-2 (8-12) Always prominent, hung left from and led over 1f out, ran on, won at Southwell 6f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs in Nov beating Cool Sands (8-13) by 3/4l, 12 ran.
Dickie Le Davoir 11-2 (8-9) Slowly into stride, in rear, never nearer, 6th of 11, 7l behind Leading Edge (9-1) at Wolverhampton 6f hcp (0-65) (6) pol in Nov.
Kinigi (IRE) 6-1 (8-8) Tracked leaders, ridden to chase winner over 1f out, one pace final furlong, 5th of 14, 3l behind First Swallow (8-13) at Southwell 5f Handicap (0-58) (3yo+) (6) fbs in Nov.
Nabeeda 8-1 (8-7) Held up behind leaders, ridden over 2f out, stayed on same pace final furlong, 5th of 13, 2l behind Silly Gilly (8-6) at Thirsk 7f hcp (6) gf in May.
Govenor Eliott (IRE) 25-1 (9-4) Tracked leaders, weakened 1f out, 5th of 10, 7l behind First Service (9-3) at Wolverhampton 7f mdn stks (5) pol in Nov.
Tag Team (IRE) 22-1 (8-8) Towards rear, headway over 2f out, led over 1f out, headed inside last, kept on, 2nd of 11, 2 1/4l behind Carnival Dream (8-6) at Wolverhampton 6f Apprentice Handicap (0-52) (3yo+) (6) pol in Nov.
Tadlil 50-1 (8-13) Tracked leaders, steadied over 4f out, ridden 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 7th of 9, 8l behind Misaro (9-7) at Kempton 6f clm stks (6) pol in Nov.
Gower 16-1 (8-8) Prominent, ridden 2f out, one pace, 3rd of 11, 3l behind Carnival Dream (8-6) at Wolverhampton 6f Apprentice Handicap (0-52) (3yo+) (6) pol in Nov.
Castlecarra (IRE) 22-1 (8-9) Held up, ridden over 1f out, never dangerous, 11th of 13, 13l behind Bidable (8-12) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-50 (7) pol in Nov.