Full marks to Sam Twiston-Davies for a no-flinch go-for-it ride on our tip Straidnahanna yesterday. A late sub, its rides like this that suggest Sam could fill the AP-Jonno void in future. No fences today as only the Southwell sands have survived Mother Nature. We won’t be waiting long for our main bet as it comes in the opening apprentice handicap.
Star Ascending is a warm favourite who won for us just last week. Three wins in five runs and two seconds demonstrate his form. But those three wins under Joe Fanning have seen him rise to a career high rating of 66. His two defeats under different jockeys, both off 53 in Christmas week suggest the horse either needs to be improving fast after 45 runs, or he has won at his level against poor horses and may now be penalised above his ability.
The evidence for the latter is him now being 6lbs worse with Ingleby Spring for a 2l beating here by that horse six weeks ago. We don’t think Star Ascending is improving that much and if he turns that form around it will have more to do with Ingleby’s own inconsistencies.
Ingleby Star followed that run with a well held 5th here last time. He runs off the same rating here which leaves him plenty to find with the second that day, Akkadian Empire. Akkadian is trained by in form Iain Jardine and ridden by in form claimer Jamie Gormley.
Although second last time at Wolverhampton, Akkadian Empire was trounced there, but it is this return to Southwell that interests after a great run here in January. With just 18 lifetime starts, and just two here, he has ample room for improvement, although strictly on the book he need only to repeat that run to hold Ingelby Star, and by extension, the favourite Star Ascending. He looks overpriced.
Recommendation: Akkadian Empire, (1420 Southwell), 1pt win, 6/1 generally available
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