Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's action.
At this time of year you can’t go too far wrong following trainer Charlie Longsdon and especially when he teams up with Richard Johnson.
The trainer-jockey combo have a 23% strike over the last five seasons and that rises to 27% (7-26) this season alone, so DEFINITLY GREY, their sole representative at Southwell this afternoon in the closing 2m4f handicap hurdle, is of interest on that stat alone.
But that’s not the only reason to think the five-year-old, ex-winning Irish point-to-pointer has every chance of breaking his British duck at the seventh attempt. Disappointing on his stable debut at Kempton last October, he’s gradually been finding his feet and his latest run at Stratford in May was his best yet as he was bang in the firing line throughout before weakening on the flat into fourth.
On that evidence he can definitely find a small race like this one off his current handicap mark and today’s slightly shorter trip is probably about right for him. The booking of the champion jockey suggests he’s ready to go despite a 135-day absence and the application of a tongue-tie for the first time might be just what the grey gelding needs to take another step forward.
Earlier on the card, it could be worth having a small interest in the Lawney Hill- trained OLIVER’S HILL on his return to fences in the 2m4f handicap chase after a recent spin over hurdles. That run would have been needed after a five month layoff and the seven-year-old remains unexposed as a chaser after just three starts. The best of those came at Doncaster in January when he finished fourth (just half a length behind the third Baku Bay) in a decent handicap and he’s been dropped 2lb since.
He disappointed in two subsequent starts but his small stable was badly out of sorts at the time and recent results suggest that whatever was ailing the runners is now behind them, with a couple of winners to show from just six runners this season. The selection is capable of adding to that tally before too long and while he’s the outsider of the lot for today’s contest, none of his six rivals are that convincing. The excellent Nick Scholfield rides.
Staying with the jumps, it will be interesting to see the level of market confidence behind the Kenneth Slack-trained OH SO GIGOLO, who is making his stable debut in the novices’ handicap hurdle at Sedgefield having started life with Nicky Henderson. The six-year-old didn’t show much in six starts in bumpers and hurdles, which is why he was sold out of the yard, but there was a glimmer of potential and a change of scenery might do this nicely-bred sort the power of good. Certainly, a handicap mark of 86 could prove very dangerous if Slack can unlock his potential and an early show of 5/1 suggests a big run is expected.