First up this afternoon at Southwell is an interesting looking two mile handicap chase, and it is a tough start for punters looking to make a profit. Joly Maker has disappointed of late but will surely come good at some stage which makes him a threat, but on balance it is Dragon Khan who looks set to make it two wins on the spin. A cosy winner last time out at Bangor, he has a manageable 4 lb rise to cope with and is clearly in good form.
A small but select field of just three runners for the novices' handicap chase over just shy of three miles, and all three look capable of featuring. Trumps Benefit looks the narrow pick after his win at Worcester last time out, and with the horse clearly in good form and against limited opposition, he can follow up with a second success on the bounce for James and Peter Bowen.
Diomede Des Mottes looks a major threat for Dan Skelton, but Big Nasty is the pick on the day with plenty of rain around potentially going against the former. Big Nasty ran really well at Wetherby when last seen back in April, and there should be more to come from a horse who has run just three times so far as long as he is prepped for his seasonal debut.
Trapper Peak sets a strong standard in the competitive-looking handicap hurdle, but Lock's Corner looks ready to win in the JP McManus silks this afternoon. The Jonjo O'Neill-trained horse is yet to win under Rules, but looks capable of getting his head in front off this mark and having had wind surgery since his last run, he could see enough improvement to take this with the trainer's son in the irons for this one.
Nordican Bleue is understandably the one to beat as a course and distance winner, but he looks short enough in the betting and alternatives are preferred in the two-mile novice hurdle. The main fancy against the favourite is Satuario, who could continue an excellent afternoon for the Bowen team with this dual-purpose animal having his first start for a new yard which should bring about an upturn in form.
Betting heats don't come much harder than this handicap hurdle for the conditional jockeys over just under three miles, and punters will need to be shrewd to claim a win in this one. Robyndzone may not have the flashiest profile, but he ran well in two handicaps last back end and has to have a genuine chance if running well after a break for a trainer who knows how to get them ready for their seasonal debut.