There is a valuable handicap chase at Southwell and conditions are likely to be on the soft side of good given there was plenty of rain forecast to hit the track overnight.
Sublime Heights was put in at 2/1 to follow up his recent Plumpton win from an 8lbs higher mark but that is too short given there are several dangers and I think they will bet nearer 3/1 the field on the show. Connections suggested it was the application of cheekpieces that led to the gelding’s improved form last time, but he has always threatened to make up into a decent chaser. That said the Plumpton race was hardly the strongest.
Twotwothree has dropped to a mark 5lbs below his last winning one and has his first start for Sam Allwood. A market move would be worth noting.
HELTENHAM is entitled to improve for his seasonal reappearance/chase debut, and I’m not convinced he was in love with the tight Stratford turns on his chase debut when supported into favourite. A big strong chasing type, he was beaten 12L when runner up to Sheldon and the winner fell when just getting competitive on his last start. It would have been nice to have had a form guide -third home Steel Wave reopposes today – but I do think the 9/2 for Heltenham is fair.
3.05 Southwell - Ewood Park (Each Way)
Leading owners the McNeil family are Blackburn Rovers supporters and have Shearer and EWOOD PARK (EW) named after the former Premier League winners. The latter returns from a 680-day lay-off this afternoon but there are reasons to believe he is well handicapped. Olly Murphy has his string in good form, and I do know they considered Ewood Park a fair novice hurdler.
It is possible that he will need the run but a mark of 107 looks workable as he steps up in distance for his handicap debut.
12.55 Sedgefield - Fiston Du Mou (Nap)
FISTON DU MOU did us a favour when scoring over C&D from a 9lbs lower mark last time and I thought he looked well ahead of the handicapper on that occasion. He has left Ann Duffield since that 8L success, but that is not a concern and Brian Hughes keeps the ride.
Espoir Moriviere reverts to fences having had a pipe opener over hurdles at the beginning of the month. Rose Dobbin had a welcome winner at Newcastle at the weekend and this 7-y-old is set to carry less than 9st 7lbs. He looks the main danger to the selection.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.