This is a competitive class 4 handicap over 1m 4f, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: There are a few with decent chances in this and ON FIRE gets the vote. He looks just the type to progress in handicap company and a 7lb rise in the weights may not be enough to halt his improvement here. Codeshare goes for the hat-trick but is worse off at the weights with the selection when they met in December whilst Main Fact is worth a second look in the betting at a big price.
1 FINAL – Has been in really good form of late having finished 212 in his three runs this year. He’s clearly still on an upward curve having already completed a double last summer and he steps up another 2 furlongs in distance today which connections clearly feel will bring about more improvement. He’s left on a mark of 87 and whilst this will require more again, he’s in an excellent vein of form and will be thereabouts again for a yard in form (20% strike rate last 14 days).
2 L’INGANNO FELICE – Very well beaten by Codeshare on his last start when never travelling and finishing ninth of 11, beaten 16 and a half lengths. The handicapper hasn’t shown any mercy and has left him on a career high mark of 87 and that will make life difficult again. He may improve for the return to Southwell having won and placed over C&D in January but more is needed again and there may be one or two better treated rivals in this.
3 CODESHARE – Got off the mark at the sixth attempt in a maiden at Newcastle in February and followed that up with a victory in handicap company over the same C&D. He races on the fibresand for the first time today but his sires progeny have a fine record on the surface and it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem now he goes for the hat-trick. The handicapper has nudged him up another 4lbs which will make life tougher having only won by a short-head last time out but he’s unexposed and there should be more to come. Silvestre De Sousa (16% strike rate in the last fortnight) retains the ride.
4 EUCHEN GLEN – Relatively unexposed type with only 8 runs to his name. He’s won twice over trips of 10 and 12 furlongs so today’s test shouldn’t be an issue and he should strip fitter for his second run off a seasonal break. He was well-beaten on that return to action at Newcastle and that makes him an unattractive proposition in this given he’s only been dropped a pound for that effort. Connections reach for the first time hood and he may be one to keep on an eye on when returned to the turf.
5 BE PERFECT – 9 wins from 62 starts and has struggled since put up in the weights following a victory on the turf last September. He’s now just 1lb higher than that mark and should come on for his seasonal return to action at Newcastle at the beginning of this month. He’s very exposed and there are a few that could readily progress past him here and he’s hard to fancy here given he was beaten 18 lengths by Codeshare on his last start.
6 BUTHELEZI – Hasn’t won since April 2015 and is seriously out of form with some terrible efforts on the All-Weather this season. He’s rapidly fallen down the weights and is on a mark of 76 here but he’s very hard to recommend on form. He’s without a win in 5 starts on the sand and he’s another that’s likely to improve for a switch back to turf. Best watched here for a yard with only a 6% strike rate at Southwell.
7 CARD HIGH – Back onto his last winning mark having been dropped 2lbs for a very poor effort at Newcastle in February. He’s not really shown any form on the All-Weather this winter and that’s been reflected in the betting having been sent off at a double figure price on every occasion. He’s hard to fancy given his winless record on the sand (4 starts to date) and may be one to watch when returned to the turf.
8 MAIN FACT – Trainer has had barely any runners here and hasn’t sent out a winner in three attempts. Her horse an interesting runner nonetheless given he was picked up for 18,000GNS from France having won a 1m 3f heavy ground race at Maisons-Laffitte and he’s been gelded since arriving in the UK. He didn’t show much on his first run in the UK off 77 having been beaten 18 1/2 lengths but he steps up to a more suitable trip here and is dropped 7lbs in the weights. Could be of interest at a bigger price.
9 ON FIRE – Got off the mark in style on his last run having placed three times prior to that win. The handicapper was suitably impressed and has raised him 7lbs for that victory in the first time blinkers and Paul Hanagan is a very interesting booking here (27% strike rate last 14 days). He was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Codeshare in December but is now much better off at the weights and given he looks like a progressive type, he could get much closer to that rival today. He’s of serious interest here for a trainer with a 27% strike rate at Southwell with a £38.16 profit to level stakes.