This is a typically competitive sprint handicap in which any one of a handful could score, but our token preference is for HANDSOME CROSS ahead of Even Bolder and Figaro Flyer. Willy Musson's veteran has a modest strike rate but has returned to form of late, most noticeably when an eye-catching second last time. The gelding had to be switched twice at Kempton having travelled strongly in rear before finishing with a wet sail to take a never nearer second, so as he goes down as a very unlucky loser and runs here off the same mark he's just preferred. Even Bolder did well to score last time out in what might have been a better race than this so he's respected. He's consistent on artificial surfaces and rarely finishes too far away over this trip, so will doubtless attract many an eye. Figaro Flyer may be slightly better at Southwell but this surface bears some similarities and he's become well treated on his best form. It's far from ideal that he's up a pound for taking third last time but he has claims despite that rise. Bo McGinty hasn't won for 18 months and is arguably better on turf and as Bahamian Kid has been held in claimers of late the next best may be Perlachy. This Kyllachy-gelding has done all of his winning on artificial surfaces including at this course and distance, so whilst he's a shade high in the weights his profile is more convincing than some. Absa Lute runs at Kempton on Wednesday and it'll be interesting to see how the mare fares in that five furlong contest. The feeling is she might just need six, but should she go close there she'd become a real threat to these. La Capriosa showed little promise on her last two runs and a break since might still not be enough to see her return to form, whilst Brierty is worth monitoring in the betting as she should benefit for stepping back in trip. This is a competitive sprint handicap set to be run at a furious pace, with Handsome Cross selected in the hope that the gaps appear in time.
Even Bolder 13-2 (8-1) Held up in last place, headway on outer over 1f out, stayed on to lead towards finish, won at Lingfield 5f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Jan beating Master Lightfoot (8-8) by nk, 7 ran.
Absa Lutte (IRE) 5-2fav (8-2) Tracked leaders travelling strongly, ridden to lead entering final furlong, just held on, won at Kempton 5f hcp 0-85 (4) pol beating Zegna (8-9) by nk, 8 ran.
Brierty (IRE) 20-1 (9-4) Prominent, ridden well over 1f out, weakened well inside final furlong, 7th of 13, 6l behind Divine Force (8-6) at Wolverhampton 6f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan.
Bahamian Kid 11-4 (9-1) Held up, headway over 2f out, ridden to chase winner 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, held towards finish, 2nd of 5, 1/2l behind Caprio (9-5) at Wolverhampton 7f clm stks (6) pol in Jan.
La Capriosa 11-1 (9-3) Chased leaders on outside, lost place over 1f out, soon weakened, 10th of 11, 17l behind Lord Of The Reins (8-13) at Kempton 5f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Nov.
Perlachy 8-1 (8-11) Chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, went 3rd over 1f out, kept on one pace final furlong, 3rd of 11, 4 1/2l behind Sutton Veny (9-4) at Kempton 6f hcp (0-90) (5) pol in Jan.
Figaro Flyer (IRE) 9-1 (9-4) Chased leaders, led approaching final furlong, headed towards finish, no extra, 3rd of 10, 1/2l behind Steel City Boy (8-10) at Lingfield 5f hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Jan.
Lucky Art (USA) 28-1 (8-13) Led, ridden and hung left 2f out, soon headed, weakened final furlong, 12th of 13, 9l behind Great Charm (9-1) at Southwell 6f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs in Nov.
Handsome Cross (IRE) 3-1 (8-12) Held up, not clearest of runs from over 1f out until switched left inside final furlong, ran on well to close on winner near finish, always held, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Thoughtsofstardom (9-0) at Kempton 5f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Jan.
Spic 'n Span 13-2 (8-9) Reluctant to go to post, chased leaders, weakening when hampered 1f out, 11th of 12, 11l behind Misaro (9-3) at Wolverhampton 5f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Oct.
Bo McGinty (IRE) 5-2 (8-3) Always prominent, ridden halfway, pressed winner final furlong, held close home, 2nd of 6, 1/2l behind Monte Major (8-3) at Southwell 5f Apprentice Claiming Stakes (0-70) (4yo+) (6) fbs in Jan.