Three meetings on the artificial surfaces today, so let’s start with a twelve-furlong handicap on the polytrack at Lingfield.
The benchmark for this race is the consistent Quality Song trained by former champion jockey Richard Hughes. Four runs for the trainer and never outside the first three so could be worth an each-way bet to nothing depending on price. The way he needs to be ridden out the back leaves a lot to fortune in the business end of racing meaning he hasn’t won as often as he should have. That said he is off an attractive mark of 75 because there is no doubt he has the ability.
Le Notre ran on late to snatch second 112-days ago at this venue. The form from that race has worked out well with the winner Dolphin Village doubling up and the third Silver Quay winning and placing on his next two starts – he is now rated 94, so if you look at that and see Jeremy Noseda’s charge runs off 75 here then he could have more to offer.
Karnage got off the mark two starts ago over track and trip in a maiden beating two jumps horses. He ran well enough at Chelmsford last time but didn’t find much when asked. Back to this surface could have more to offer with Luke Morris back on board. Kelly’s Finest has the capable Josephine Gordon claiming five-pounds and this filly bumped into the very much in-form Bracken Brae last time out. Today is has a change of scenery away from Chelmsford and Southwell, so if handling the track could be on a good mark, if able to dictate.
Le Notre (WIN)
The all-weather theme continues at Southwell where we go for a mile-handicap with quite a few of the ten-runners looking to go forward.
Pearl Spectre was a course and distance winner back in 2013 off a two-pound higher mark. This son of Street Cry was able to dictate in a small field that day and is one that will be ridden towards the pace. The draw in stall seven could be a problem for him trying those ‘make all’ tactics under Oisin Murphy.
Daniel Mark Loughnane’s stable is in good form and his charge The Firm is a course regular. His last two wins have been over track and trip, which have seen the seven-year-old go up in the weights and because of that he is now in a higher class, which could find him out.
With many of these looking to be ridden prominently one that could benefit from the strong gallop and pick up the pieces is Beautiful Stranger. Keith Dalgleish’s inmate was a length third on his return to action at the start of the month at Wolverhampton. That run should have blown away the winter cobwebs, so this son of Iffraaj, who has course form, could have more to offer off his current mark.
Beautiful Stranger (E/W if 9/2+)
The nightcap at Kempton sees ten-runners heading to past for a six-furlong handicap for horses rated between 0-85.
John Ryan’s Torreon is the least exposed of these having only had four career starts to date. He was a close second over seven-furlongs when last seen and that was despite being very keen early throughout. The handicapper hasn’t altered his mark, so the return to this trip could help him get his head back in front.
Lightning Charlie returns to the track following an 176-day absence and he won his maiden here in October 2014 when making all. If Jim Crowley goes forward with him early on then we’ll see how fit he is. If he goes off too quickly that may help Torreon settle, which would be ideal for John Ryan’s runner.
Silvestre De Sousa is waiting around till the last to ride Burning Blaze for Brian Ellison. This combination were successful over a furlong further two-weeks ago when beating Light From Mars. He was all out that day to cling on to claim victory, so the drop back in trip could suit. However one worry would be he can be slow out of the stalls, which could see him forfeit ground early on.