By Chris Dixon
With today’s scheduled jumps meetings falling victim to the weather earlier in the week the British Horseracing Authority moved early to put Sunday’s meeting at Southwell in place so a six-race card on the Fibresand means there is some action for punters.
The snowfall around the country has meant it has been a quiet week generally and it has given me time to get stuck into a good number of Cheltenham Festival races as well. So for Sunday’s selections I’m going to put up a couple of bets at Southwell as well as a pair of ante-post bets for Cheltenham.
Kingstreet Lady has made a promising start to life in the care of Ruth Carr and looks to have been found a good opportunity to strike.
She looked in need of the run when flattening out, having travelled well on her first start for the yard at Newcastle in January before moving through the race in the manner of a horse who loved this surface when second here last time.
Only beaten a half-length on that occasion, she was taking on a pair of in-form, higher rated proven course performers that day and should find this lower grade event a little less competitive.
Ideally drawn in stall three, unlike main market rival Warrior’s Valley who is berthed in stall 10, Kingstreet Lady is expected to move comfortably just off an anticipated strong pace before going away to score.
The inside draw in stall one is not ideal, especially for a filly having her first ever run at this track but Sea Tea Dea is a big enough price to account for that concern in what looks a pretty open race.
A winner on her handicap debut from a mark of 65 in January of last year, Sea Tea Dea ran her best race since then when fifth at Wolverhampton last time.
Able to race off a 1lbs lower mark here, she is well handicapped on her best efforts and her style of racing and pedigree (sire Archipenko has a solid 15% strike rate with his progeny at the track) suggest she has a chance of building on the encouragement of last time on her first go on the Fibresand.
Cloudy Dream at 14-1 with Sky Bet for the Ryanair Chase:
Watch Denman Chase analysis from The Verdict
Cloudy Dream has not managed to really progress from a successful novice chase campaign that included an excellent second to Altior in the Arkle but has not had a chance to race with everything in his favour so far this season and could just be a big improver in the Ryanair.
Having shaped best behind Smad Place in the Old Roan Chase in October on his reappearance Ruth Jefferson’s charge has since raced on ground that is softer than optimum for him and his last two runs have been over trips he does not stay.
A strong traveller who is well suited by a strong gallop, he looks likely to get exactly that at the Festival and will be played late by the excellent Brian Hughes.
Better ground is also a positive for him and though it looks like there is a chance the ground is softer than we are used to at this meeting, it will at the worst be better than what he has raced on in recent starts.
Black Op each-way at 10-1 in the without Samcro market for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle with Betfair Sportsbook:
Samcro has looked freakishly good to me so far this season and I fully expect him to be very hard to beat.
Plenty will look to take him on given his price, but I am not one of them and instead my advice is to play in the betting without Samcro market.
Not many firms have priced this up so far, with just Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power and Skybet offering odds at this stage, but for those that can take advantage I think Black Op looks a good bet at 10-1 each-way.
Trained by Tom George, who has had another excellent season, Irish Point-To-Point winner Black Op beat the subsequent Champion Bumper third & Supreme Novices’ Hurdle contender Claimantakinforgan in a Doncaster bumper on his debut last season and his steady improvement over hurdles this season includes an excellent second to Santini in a Grade Two at Prestbury Park in January.
I think he would have won that day, if not for making a mistake at the last, and with better ground and a well-run race both likely to suit I am anticipating further progress. Vinndication is the other horse that appeals in this market at 12-1.
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