Countryside Evening

Good morning all,

It's Countryside Evening at Southwell later today, always a fun evening and I'm already looking forward to the lurcher racing (my good lady has a lurcher she got as a rescue dog, he's lovely) that's part of the festivities.

I've had a look at the card and picked out two races that appeal for a having a bet.

Another day to tread carefully though, plenty of rain around again (and for the rest of the week, so York could be fun) and there's going to be going changes as the day progresses. 

5.30 – 2m4f Handicap Chase

A right old mix here. A couple of these just look to be gone at the game – Boss Des Mottes is regressing quickly, and Miami Present seems to hate fences. The Geegeezgeegee is capable enough but too many mistakes are creeping into his work, and to that extent, Murray Mount’s early unseat last time hardly inspires much confidence either. Larkhall simply doesn’t win races, Lovely Bubbly needs to do better (and prove himself at the trip, and any rain a negative too) so we’re down to a handful already.

That’s The Deal gained due reward for a cracking effort at Huntingdon the time before where his jumping was superb, and only an unexposed Jonjo immate picked him off after the last. At Fakenham last week, his jumping was again a joy to watch, and as Jamhram threw the brakes on at the last he didn’t need a second invitation, pinging it and winning going away. But here’s my problem – effectively you’re backing a horse here with a 7lb penalty that should, in truth, have finished second last week. That said, his jumping will have plenty of these in trouble from an early stage and he looks a moral for placepots.

Skint was put up by me at Taunton earlier in the season as he was well handicapped and they had found a terrible race for him (chased home by a 21-race maiden in second, as it turned out) but he was never travelling on his latest start and doesn’t look one to trust. Any rain is against him as well. So I end up giving one more chance to Gorran Haven, still unexposed over fences and although a beaten favourite here last time out, winner Riddlestown would go close if the Gold Cup was held at Southwell (okay, that’s stretching a point, but you know what I mean), so it wasn’t that bad an effort. Hopefully he can track That’s The Deal and take it off him between the last two.


7.00 – 3m Handicap Hurdle

Good recent form is thin on the ground, and even historical form doesn’t give much of a clue. No Through Road would drop this lot on the best of his chase form but he’s been off a while and the yard are a bit quiet. Cheque En Blanc isn’t doing enough, similarly More Madness or That Man of Mine. Sea The Springs found some form last time but needs to prove himself at the trip. That leaves us with four.

Top weight Ain’t No Limits had shown a bit of ability in maiden and novice hurdles before going handicapping, and although he’s not pulled up any trees yet, he will surely appreciate going left-handed here after throwing any chance away at Ludlow last time out by jumping violently left-handed and throwing ground away. My concern with the form of the Charlie Longsden yard remains, however, and I’ll pass him over today.

Shouting Hill looked to be getting the hang of things when last seen out, and is well enough handicapped to think he can go close. He seems to stay and the yard are going fine, with their only runners both being placed last week (one off the back of a break).

Sparkling Ice seemed to improve a bit for the step up in trip last time and if you take the ridiculously easy winner out (was well ahead of the handicapper), would have gone close. That wasn’t much of a race, but neither is this, and she can’t be discounted. A bit of market support (the yard like a tilt at the ring) would increase confidence.

But the one to beat looks to be the unexposed Blue Rhythm, who stayed on well in the closing stages at Uttoxeter last time to finish a close fourth in first-time cheekpieces. The yard are flying now and I’ll be amazed if he can’t build on that effort from such a lowly handicap mark.

Today's selection – Blue Rhythm 7.00 Southwell

Good luck with all your bets today,



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