2.40pm Southwell Tips & Betting Preview 20/03/2017

A field of eight go to post for the second race of the day at Southwell on Monday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: Chris Gordon’s yard is in outstanding form at present and that can be continued by BALLYCOE, who looks likely to capitalise on a reduced mark.  He was far from disgraced on his latest start at Kempton when third in a higher class and has conditions to suit for a big run now 3lb lower in the handicap with Tom Cannon taking the ride. He can see off Johns Luck, who is entitled to put up a big fight but may just need the handicapper to help him a tad.

1 MISTER GREZ – Patchy form this season over hurdles but made a step back in the right direction back over fences when second at Leciester in February (2m 4f, Good to Soft). He runs off the same mark today which is 6lb below his last winning mark, with Bridget Andrews taking off a further 3lb through her claim. Conditions will suit and Dan Skelton is having a good spell, so he is entitled to be thereabouts and has sound place claims.

2 DURSEY SOUND – Has pulled up two of his last three starts and his only completion at Sedgefield on his penultimate start was a rather tame effort (2m 3f, Good to Soft). Returns after a 103 day break and will need that to have done wonders if he’s to be competitive in this, especially as he is still a pound above his last winning mark. Others have much sounder claims and he’s likely best watched for Ben Haslam and Richie McLernon.

4 AGINCOURT REEF – Has been campaigned over hurdles this season and won three starts ago at Wetherby on Boxing Day but has struggled the last twice, well beaten at both Wincanton and Newbury. His latest start at Newbury was a particularly poor effort when weakening tamely after three out and more is certainly needed if he’s to take this. He reverts back to chasing off a 9lb lower mark which makes him interesting but he’s not as good in this sphere. Harry Teal takes off 7lb and he isn’t discounted for the placings, but is likely to find one too good in this.

5 JOHNS LUCK – Has been in good form this season with two wins over fences, the latest of those coming at Plumpton in January (2m 3f, Soft) in a gritty performance. He was far from disgraced on his latest start when beaten favourite at Ffos Las, finished third but only beaten around three lengths (2m 4f, Heavy). Today’s conditions will suit and he’s entitled to be thereabouts off the same mark, though possibly he may just need a slight lift from the handicapper to return to winning ways. Has to be respected.

6 BALLYCOE – Mark has slowly been creeping down since three consecutive victories in early 2016 and he was far from disgraced at Kempton on his latest start (2m 4f, Good), finishing third in a higher class contest. He’s now down to a mark of 108 which is certainly not beyond him, with conditions to suit and proven stamina for this distance. Chris Gordon’s yard are flying at present, with ten winners from his last fourteen runners, constituting to a 71% strike rate. Tom Cannon takes the ride and he is taken to continue this incredible run for the yard.

7 LITTLE JIMMY – Well held back over hurdles on his latest start at Sandown ten days ago but should appreciate going back chasing for Tom Gretton. Currently still a pound above his last winning mark and at the age of ten, improvement is unlikely to be forthcoming. He does stay this distance though and should be happier back up in trip at this stage of his career and does have conditions to suit in this. Possible place contender under Brian Hughes and deserves a second look.

8 THOONAVOLLA – Three wins last season (two over fences) including this race off a 9lb lower mark, though he has won since off a 4lb higher mark that that. He hasn’t however been seen since pulling up Stratford in August, pulling up an early stage (2m 6f, Good). He did however win the race last year returning from a lay off, but does look vulnerable this time around off a mark of 105, with others much better handicapped. Place possibilities if returning at his peak but others make more appeal for win purposes this time around.

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