This is an interesting 6f handicap at Southwell, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The handicapper has been lenient with BIG AMIGO, having only raised him 5lbs for a C&D success last time out and he can go in again here. He won in the style of a horse that had more to come and he can complete a double in this. Meshardal finished behind him that day but should do better here whilst Treaty Of Rome continues to be in a good vein of form.
1 L C SALOON – Won a maiden at the second time of asking in July of last year over 5 furlongs on Good ground at Thirsk. He’s struggled since off marks in the low to mid-80’s and the handicapper has finally shown some leniency and dropped him 3lbs from his last run to a mark of 77. That has allowed him to drop in grade to Class 5 company and he should do better here against weaker opponents. First time on fibresand though and the yard only have a 7% strike rate here.
2 CROSSE FIRE – Found a 6lb rise too much to handle on his latest start when fading behind some relatively useful types for this grade. He’s certainly on a workable mark based on old form, he’s just an inconsistent horse and can never run similar races so it’s tricky to know how he will shape here. He’s got plenty of early pace and if his rider can settle him early he will have an excellent chance. Yard have slipped out of form again with no winners from eleven runners in the last fortnight.
3 APPLEBERRY – Makes her seasonal return to action today having last been seen at Nottingham finishing out the back. She had won a Class 4 handicap the time before that off just 1lb higher and she certainly has claims in this if the yard have got her fit off this break. Was well-beaten off a mark of 85 on her only run on the fibresand so she’s gifted another chance to prove he can handle the surface but others make more appeal. Hood is left on today.
4 TREATY OF ROME – Connections have found the key to this ex-Aidan O’Brien runner with three placed efforts and two victories since the turn of the year. He was a winner in similar company to this on his last start and he races with a 6lb penalty today before the handicapper gets a real grip on him. That makes life trickier but he remains in this grade and he continues to improve over this trip and there could be more to come again. Interesting.
5 BIG AMIGO – Finished ahead of Crosse Fire on his last start when running out a convincing winner of a handicap over C&D. He’s been put up another 5lbs for that effort but that may not be enough to halt his progress having looked like a horse with more to give. He’s been on the go for a while and is now 14lbs higher than the start of the year but he remains in this company and he should be right there again for a yard in form (33% strike rate last 14 days).
6 SPECIALV – Brian Ellison’s filly steps back in trip here having been comfortably held in two 7 furlong contests at the end of last year. It’s a small surprise to see her dropped in trip having looked better over further but this track requires some stamina and it’ll be interesting to see how fit she is today. Ben Curtis has ridden her to victory before and she’s worth very close attention in the betting now just 2lbs higher than her last winning mark.
7 SPIRAEA – Six races without victory this year since arriving at the Ivan Furtado yard although his mare has gone close on three occasions over 5 and 6 furlongs including at Southwell. There was plenty of money around for her at Kempton back in February when sent off the 2/1 favourite and she only narrowly missed out by a neck. She remains on a mark of 68 which on old form would see her get competitive here but she’s not on as an attractive mark as earlier in the year. Others make more appeal.
8 MESHARDAL – Another to finish behind Big Amigo last time out and he finished behind a subsequent winner just two starts ago. The handicapper has nudged him down another pound and he should be competitive here on the form he’s shown of late. He is without victory since June 2015 but he showed enough last time out to think he’s on a workable mark and the yard have come into decent form of late (18% strike rate). Respected.