Just the five runners go to post for the second most valuable race on the card at Southwell racecourse. It is a 0-85 handicap worth £5,175 for three year olds over the minimum trip of five furlongs. Read on for our expert analysis, runner by runner guide and free tip.
IN SUMMARY: A case can be made for all five runners in the field but the vote goes to the Barron trained WICK POWELL who finished off last season with a valuable Listed win at Redcar and he is proven on this surface. The colt will be partnered by Andrew Mullen who is a Southwell specialist and is riding out of his skin the past few weeks. David Evans is in the form of his life at present and he saddles two runners in the race, Nuzha and Gracious Tom. The former looks the more solid option of the two, proven on the surface, course and distance winner and John Egan is in the saddle.
1 WICK POWELL – Without question the best horse in the race by far but this is a handicap so he has to concede plenty of weight to the field as a consequence. The surface will hold no issues whatsoever as he won over course and distance on debut last April, winning in grand fashion. He is a very progressive horse and rounded off the end of his first campaign with Listed success at Redcar. Andrew Mullen is the most sought after jockey around here (58 winners at Southwell the past five seasons) so it must be significant that he is booked for the ride. This is a much easier race than the race he contested at Redcar when last seen and he has won fresh in the past so everything points to a huge run.
2 JUAN HORSEPOWER – Richard Hannon trained inmate who is tackling this surface for the very first time but there is American blood in the horse from the dam side so there is every chance he should cope with it just fine. He won a weak Class 5 Wolverhampton maiden two starts back over 5f but was put in his place at Newcastle in a similar race to this last time out, three lengths behind the impressive Zamjar. He should give a good account once more and it’s interesting that connections have reached for the first time blinkers but he is likely to find one too good again.
3 GRACIOUS TOM – One of two runners trained by David Evans in the lineup, a trainer in scintillating form at present. Won a nursery handicap here over 6f off a mark of 66 last month but he needed every yard of the trip that day so the sharp five might not be to his liking. He is also up six pounds so has his work cut out to land this contest for all he is respected. He will be race-fit and like all Evans’ horses, the market is the best guide on the day.
4 NUZHA – Hacked up in a maiden over course and distance last month in the hands of Andrew Mullen so it is interesting to see him on Wick Powell this time round. That was a very weak race though so the form has to be questioned. Nonetheless, the filly showed a great turn of foot in the closing stages and she looks well treated off a mark of 69. That was just her first time tackling the surface and just her fifth career start so she is open to a lot of improvement. She receives 16 pounds from Wick Powell which makes her the horse they all have to beat at the weights.
5 MAJOR JUMBO – Kevin Ryan trained gelding who is having his first All-Weather start off a lowly mark of 68. He has a 133 day absence to overcome so there’s every chance he might just need the run before heading back to his beloved turf for the rest of the season. He was a winner over this trip at Thirsk off 67 in July so he is not out of this if he does handle the surface at the very first attempt but there are more cons than pros so the advice is to swerve.