Get in front with the exclusive views of handicap expert Van Guard.
Fibresand debutants are not usually betting material but Pride Of Northcare strikes me as the type to do well at Southwell. He's a strong travelling sort who will be suited by the fast pace today and I fancy him to resume his upward curve. The visor did him no favours at all last time out and I'm not sure what connections had in mind as he was in sparkling form without the headgear. A cosy win at Wolverhampton was followed by a narrow defeat at Great Leighs with the third, Dazzling Bay, boosting the form since. The 113 day absence means a certain amount of faith is required but he's 10.0 and looks a realistic fly in the ointment amongst the standing dishes.
Talking of standing dishes, Jackie Kiely bids for a ninth course win in the 3.40. But Roy Brotherton's admirable eight year old has looked short of form in recent outings and I prefer the chances of Mid Valley. Three pounds out of the handicap is not ideal and neither is a career record of 3-50, but all Mid Valley's victories have come at Southwell and he has plenty of place form there to boot. He looked back in the groove at Lingfield last time after a quiet spell and now he reverts to his favoured course and distance looks worth supporting at around 5.0.
In the 4.40 More Time Tim bids for a four-timer and he looks a good thing at the weights. Ross Atkinson is able to claim today and miraculously More Time Tim will effectively be running off a lower mark than for his facile success last time as he carries no penalty for that amateur riders contest. Perhaps then I'm being foolish in taking him on but here goes.
It's a different kettle of fish taking on 80+ horses; there is almost a glass ceiling in racing with plenty of horses having no trouble in mopping up 0-70 races but sometimes find breaking into the next league very difficult. Just ask today's rival Mozayada. Throw in the dreaded one draw over the Southwell mile and the 5/4 doesn't look overly attractive. I think I would rather be with Intabih at around 7.0, albeit to small stakes, who looked equally as progressive last autumn and promises to appreciate fibresand on pedigree.
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