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Southwell Racing Tips: Conservative earns the vote

Many punters bemoaned the loss of Southwell’s unique fibresand surface, which had been in place for so long, and I’m not ashamed to say I was among them. However, things move on, and I’m happy to admit that I’m a convert to the new tapeta track at the Rolleston venue, particularly as it’s now attracting a better class of horse than would have been the case in the old days.

That said, Thursday’s meeting is probably on the low-key side, though a few of the top stables are represented and there looks to be some decent betting opportunities on the card.

Charlie Appleby would barely have had any runners on the Southwell fibresand but has been a regular visitor since the new surface was installed, winning at a strike-rate of 45%.

That obviously brings his Khathak well into the equation in the 1m novice contest at 17:00, though I’m not convinced by this one at a likely short price and am prepared to take him on with Martyn Meade’s Conservative.



Trainer: Martyn Meade
Jockey: David Probert
Age: 3
Weight: 9st 2lbs

This son of Churchill finished placed in both starts on turf last September, the latter occasion when beaten only three and a half lengths by Hannibal Barca, who franked that form in no uncertain terms when going on to finish fourth to Derby favourite Luxembourg in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity at Doncaster the following month.

As mentioned earlier, I’m not completely enthralled by Khathak, who’d already had a breathing operation prior to winning on debut, and then just looked a little ungainly when disappointing as favourite at Newcastle next time.

The fact that Appleby is reaching for blinkers on just this third start is also a tad disconcerting.

Of the rest, those with form don’t look like they’ll offer too much of a threat, so it could be that a pair of newcomers are the others to concentrate on.

Sharp Frank is a well-bred son of Frankel from the in-form Andrew Balding yard, while Meleagant from the Ed Walker stable has a nice enough pedigree and is one to keep an eye on in the market. However, both will have to run to a fair level on debut to make a mark against Conservative and Khathak, with my colours nailed firmly to the mast of the former.

While Conservative brings some classy form to the table, the same can’t really be said of the runners in the 7f 0-50 classified stakes at 18:15, but that just serves to highlight that the race won’t take too much winning.

In a field of largely exposed sorts, Pleasant Charm is the obvious exception, making just her third start and fitted with first-time cheekpieces.

Her latest run when sixth in maiden company at Wolverhampton last time was an improvement on what she’d achieved on her first couple of starts and it goes without saying that she won’t have to be any sort of world beater to get the job done in this grade.

Should she underperform for whatever reason, recent Wolverhampton winner Tommytwohoots may be best placed to take advantage, though his level is pretty much established after fifteen starts and he’s clearly vulnerable to something much less exposed.



Trainer: Daniel & Claire Kubler
Jockey: Richard Kingscote
Age: 4
Weight: 9st 2lbs

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