Good ground forecast at Southwell for today’s bumper 10-race card which begins with a two-mile novices’ handicap chase with four of the seven runners having their first start over the larger obstacles.
Winning pointer Youracert goes well fresh and Donald McCain had a welcome winner at his local track Bangor-on-Dee on Sunday. He looks sure to run well but Dan Skelton’s Ferrobin and Thibault (12.15) are also potentially well treated on their chase debut and the nod goes to the Kim Bailey runner who is 9/4 with William Hill.
The selection certainly has the scope to jump a fence and ran well here over an additional half-mile over hurdles twelve months ago. He has been off the track since November, which is a slight concern, but has a history of going well fresh and the yard were also amongst the winners in north Wales at the weekend.
I am concerned about Bailey’s Station Master (1.20) being taken on for the lead by Forth Bridge in the 3m handicap chase but the nine-year-old begins this season 10lbs lower than was the case last year and is taken to outstay his rivals if getting into a good rhythm. The gelding – 13/2 with bet365 – has not yet fulfilled the promise he showed as a novice, but he won his sole start her over hurdles and he has dropped to a decent mark. As with the 2m handicap chase the dangers look to be the Skelton and McCain representatives.
I was disappointed that Glen Force (7.25) was not able to pick up Rodin at Lingfield – turf – last time and a 4lbs rise makes life a bit more difficult in handicaps for Sir Mark Prescott. No surprise therefore to see him head north to Ayr for a 7f Maiden this evening. The trainer had a winner at the track on Monday and this inmate will be difficult to beat in first-time cheek-pieces. The 11/10 with bet365 looks fair. Note Rodin finished runner up in a Kempton handicap – beaten by the draw? – on Monday evening.
In the finale Alexanderthegreat (8.30) did not see much daylight on his reappearance at Redcar although I do not think he could be described as an unlucky loser. It was still a good run and that was his first start in 568 days. He is entitled to come on for the run and was not knocked about when the gap eventually appeared up the far rail.
Donnachies Girl will appreciate the drop back in trip having looked all over the winner before failing to get home over 2m at Musselburgh at the beginning of the month. He must go close as must Three Castles although the latter can be a bit keen and returns from a short break.
Sudona did us a favour at Pontefract last week but I wonder if she is better over 10f rather than tonight’s mile-and-a-half. She has never won over the trip and the steadier of 10st 5lbs is likely to find her out.
Sudona must give 15lbs to the three-year-old Choral Work (8.15) who made all to score at Haydock last time. After just three career starts, she is entitled to improve again and an opening mark of 75 might not stop her following up on handicap debut.
Rideson has finished runner up in her last five starts and it would be no surprise if she had to settle for the silver medal again in the Mile Maiden at Bath. The form of Magical Dragon’s third over today’s C&D on debut was given a boost when the winner – Establish – landed a handicap on the July course from a mark of 80 on Saturday. He must go close, but I thought Sun Tide (2.05) showed enough when runner up at Kempton on debut to go one better.
The selection is a half-sister to several winners and connections will be keen to get a win under her belt with the breeding sheds in mind. The filly was slowly away on debut and did not seem to know what was expected from her until it was too late, but she hit the line well and I hope she will be a different proposition with that experience under her belt.