Southwell is sharing jumps duties with Taunton and we're eyeing up a double at the Midlands venue
Ben Case has his string in good form and he could be amongst the winners at Southwell this afternoon. The Northamptonshire handler sends a couple of runners to the Midlands venue and both are fancied, with his ALPANCHO the value option to a couple of opposable market leaders in the 2m4f handicap chase (due off 2.35pm).
Considering there are just seven runners it looks a competitive little race, with Alan King’s Money For Nothing currently vying for favouritism with Take The Crown, representing Henry Oliver. Both bring strong recent form to the table but the former horse in particular is becoming expensive to follow having let down favourite backers on his last three starts, and has his stamina to prove over today’s longer trip. The same comment applies to his market rival, who has also been beaten off lower marks on his last three starts.
With them taking such a large chunk out of the market, there has to be some value elsewhere and the selection provides it at the current 9/2. At first glance he has it to do off top weight on his first run for 362 days but a long absence didn’t stop him winning on his reappearance at Warwick last season before his form tailed off in two subsequent starts, and his best effort the previous season also came first time up. So, first time out is clearly the best time to catch him.
Already a winner over fences and over this trip, there are no doubts over his stamina – unlike the market principals – and his stable has been in excellent form of late with a couple of winners in the last fortnight from just a handful of runners. His stable also had one placed at the Cheltenham Festival, with Croco Bay running a blinder to finish third in the Grand Annual. Today’s jockey Daryl Jacob makes the most of his opportunities for the trainer and has booted home a couple of chase winners this term from just eight rides (25%).
They also team up with MAZURATI in the 2m4f handicap hurdle run later on the card (3.40pm). The six-year-old is making his handicap debut having qualified for a mark when finishing midfield in a “national hunt” novices’ hurdle at Bangor in January. The closest he’s got to a placed finish was his debut fourth in a Stratford bumper but he’s a nicely bred sort and should do better now he goes handicapping off what looks a generous mark of 99. Indeed, strong market support suggest he’s fit and fancied today in a race that won’t take much winning, and it would be no surprise to see the stable pull off a notable double.