Nicky Henderson’s 6yo Jen’s Boy was in good form over hurdles last summer/autumn, while Eclair Des Sablons, Oscar Maguire and Waitonit are other interesting recruits to chasing. However, GLENGAR finished well to win quite cosily over C&D 11 days ago and can overcome a 7lb penalty.
Lord Condi still looks well handicapped after his back-to-form C&D win 16 days ago, while Tikkinthebox looked in excellent nick when defeating two subsequent winners at Uttoxeter 48 hours later. However, there could still be more to come from YOURACERT, who was over 10l behind Lord Condi here on his recent chasing debut but shaped with more than enough promise to suggest he can pose a potent threat on today’s revised terms.
Shoal Bay is slightly ahead of the handicapper under the penalty he carries for his comfortable C&D win 11 days ago but he was one of two horses to break clear from the rest of the field at a fairly early stage that day and the form may not be entirely reliable. Preference is for IRISH PROPHECY, who settled the issue with a good turn of foot at Newton Abbot on his latest outing and, after only two chase starts, could easily have more to offer.
Ex-French filly Stamina Chope was done for speed in a tactical race at Stratford on her British debut three weeks ago but a stronger gallop might show her in a better light here and she is respected. However, POGO I AM won the other division of that Stratford race in pretty good style and, with the prospect of more improvement to come, she is taken to defy a penalty. The hardest mare to weigh up is stable/hurdling debutante Mrs Hyde, who showed some useful bumper form in 2018-19 but hasn’t fired on her last two outings. In-form Flat-racer Angel’s Whisper can go well if her stamina holds out.
We haven’t seen him since May 2019 but APRES LE DELUGE began his career with a bumper win and three promising hurdle runs for Hughie Morrison, and fitness is rarely an issue with representatives from his new stable. He gets the nod ahead of wide-margin Musselburgh winner Ask Henry. French AQPS Flat winner Gospelus also enters the equation on today’s British/hurdling debut, while unexposed 7yo I’m Here ran pretty well in a good novice chase this month.
Gunnery may yet have more to offer over hurdles and prove himself worthy of his current mark, but nothing appeals more than CAIUS MARCIUS (nap). The form of his recent third in a strong handicap at Market Rasen received a boost when the fourth won back there earlier this week and he was perhaps unlucky not to go really close on that occasion.
This looks very competitive for the grade. The suggestion is course winner CARNTOP, who would have preferred a strong pace when sixth over 2m here last time. His creditable run over 2m4f at Royal Ascot before that offers significant hope he could have untapped potential over this trip over hurdles. All Yours was placed off a higher mark over hurdles last year and has done very well on the Flat since.
Gavrocheka and Higgs are closely matched on the form of their Market Rasen clash three weeks ago, and Philip Hobbs’s filly has plenty of scope to progress from that performance. Imperial Elysian was in excellent form when we last saw him in February but has received some pretty stern treatment from the handicapper since.
The penalised THE DISTANT LADY appeared to take very little out of herself when dancing home here 11 days ago and the chances are she’ll follow up. Big Penny has flattered to deceive on numerous occasions but she’s dangerously treated and was going well when brought down on her debut for this yard, albeit back in September.
This looks way more competitive than the opening division. Tara Niece won on her recent handicap debut at Newton Abbot but one who might beat her today is ISTIMRAAR. He looked back on good terms with himself in winning over fences at Perth last week and there’s no obvious reason, especially off this mark, why he can’t follow up back hurdling. Black Anthem, himself due a rise in weights after his recent chase exploits, can also have a say in matters. Realta Dawn also needs respecting.
The Racing Post’s best bets for Southwell today
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