Saktoon has posted a couple of improved efforts at Southwell recently and steps up in trip here, while Escape Artist moves in the opposite direction after a recent third over 1m2f. Teen Ager is only 2lb higher than his latest win over C&D, but Querido remains on a 5lb higher mark than when scoring at this track last month. HAVING A BALL has been running well without looking like winning of late and, as he's dropped in class after a recent fourth over track and trip, Jonathan Portman's charge gets the nod to end his long losing run today.
Having A Ball 10-1 (8-2) Towards rear, ridden and headway over 1f out, stayed on, 4th of 13, 3l behind Hip Hip Hooray (9-0) at Kempton 1m hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Jan.
Querido (GER) 5-1 (10-6) Held up in mid-division, effort on outside and plugged on inside final furlong, no threat, 7th of 9, 6l behind Stamp Duty (10-5) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f am hcp 0-60 (6) pol.
Fault 9-2 (8-12) Chased leader, no impression when ridden and lost 2nd over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 7th of 9, 6l behind Force To Spend (8-7) at Kempton 6f hcp 0-60 (6) pol in Dec.
Saktoon (USA) 12-1 (9-1) Towards rear, ridden 3f out, headway approaching final furlong, stayed on to go 3rd towards finish, not reached leaders, 3rd of 14, 4 1/2l behind Fluctuation (9-8) at Southwell 7f hcp 0-60 (6) fbs in Jan.
Alioonagh (USA) 12-1 (9-8) Led, headed over 5f out, prominent, ridden 3f out, weakened over 1f out, last of 10, 36l behind Desert Chieftain (8-12) at Yarmouth 1m hcp 0-60 (6) gd in Sep.
Shaws Diamond (USA) 5-1 (8-7) Raced wide chased leading pair until 3f out, weakened over 1f out, last of 5, 11l behind Ezra Church (9-4) at Southwell 7f app hcp (0-70) (4yo+) (5) fbs.
Blue Noodles 5-1 (10-1) Took keen hold, led until over 6f out, chased leader, led again 3f out until over 2f out, stayed on same pace inside final furlong, 5th of 9, 6l behind Stamp Duty (10-5) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f am hcp 0-60 (6) pol.
Teen Ager (FR) 11-1 (8-13) Dwelt, towards rear, ridden and headway over 1f out, soon switched right, kept on, 5th of 14, 3 1/2l behind Warbond (9-2) at Kempton 1m hcp (0-55) (6) pol.
Escape Artist 8-1 (9-3) Hampered soon after start, held up, well off the pace after 4f, good headway over 2f out, not clear run over 1f out and lost chance of winning, rallied to go 3rd inside final furlong, 3rd of 8, 4 1/2l behind Trecase (8-11) at Kempton 1m 2f app hcp (0-50) (7) pol.
Highcliffe 80-1 (8-11) Stumbled and hampered start, headway to lead after 2f, headed 8f out, tracked leader, ridden and weakened over 2f out, last of 12, 22l behind Celtic Charlie (8-13) at Lingfield 1m 4f hcp 0-52 (6) pol.
Luv U Noo 13-2 (8-8) Dwelt towards rear, ridden and headway entering final furlong, ran on, 4th of 11, 3l behind Cwmni (9-3) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-50 (7) pol in Jan.
Tunza The Lion 33-1 (8-2) Prominent, pulled hard, led 5f out, headed 3f out, weakened over 1f out, 9th of 10, 26l behind Flying Applause (8-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f app hcp (0-58) (6) pol.
Vitznau (IRE) 13-2 (9-2) Held up towards rear, headway on outside well over 1f out, 6th and no impression last half furlong, 6th of 11, 3 1/2l behind Warden Bond (9-1) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp (0-55) (6) pol.
Baby Driver 9-2 (9-2) Close up early, took keen hold, soon dropped into mid-division, ridden over 1f out, faded inside final furlong, 8th of 12, 5l behind Brave Decision (8-12) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-50 (7) pol in Jan.