We still don’t trust the going on the jumps tracks coming out of the thaw, so its back to the ever trusty Southwell for todays nap.
The closing 11f handicap is short on runners but long on intrigue. The hot favourite is Compatriot looking for a quick-fire treble after two easy recent wins. He is 8lbs up for his last win, but still 3lbs well in on his new rating, which kicks in on Saturday.
The extra weight has to slow his progress, but the switch to this unique Fibresand surface for the first time is an even greater threat. He didn’t handle soft on turf in Ireland, and he could struggle here.
Second favourite Star Ascending is himself chasing a 5-timer. The first three of those wins were here so Southwell offers no danger, but he is 6lbs higher than his last win here. In fairness that was a comfortable win. His last 24 runs have been in class 6 or lower, this is class 5 and he now has to bring his higher mark against tougher opponents. Better chance than Compatriot, but still there to be beaten.
The one that could is course veteran Luv U Whatever. His lifetime course form of 112116221113312223 shows his liking for the track, and a recent Chelmsford win shows him to be in good form. He is capable of adding pace to the race, and given the doubts at the top of the market, he can break his longest ever course losing streak (4 runs) off a mark 10lbs lower than this time last year.
Recommendation: Luv U Whatever, (1710 Southwell), 1pt win, 4/1 generally available
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