Strong pace could suit late closing style
The opening race at Southwell is likely to be run at a strong pace with the presence of Rizzardo, Rafferty and Ben Buie in the field. That could set the race up for a horse to close late from off the pace and there are two at big prices who I think have been overlooked in the market.
Massini Man is making his third start for John Groucott and he’s shaped with a bit of promise on both starts for him.
On his first start for the new yard at Ludlow over two miles, he lacked the necessary speed to put in any sort of challenge but did finish strongly after the last.
He was stepped up to 2m4f last time at the same track. His jumping wasn’t convincing early on and he dropped towards the back of the field with a circuit to go. He made some headway down the back straight but he was stuck very wide on the bend on the long run to four out and, after jumping that fence in a share of third, he gradually dropped away to finish eighth.
Massini Man has been dropped another 4lb for that to 99, a mark 11lb lower than the one he finished a close third off over today’s C&D last season.
A more patient ride combined with the strong pace at a track where he’s run well on a couple of occasions could see a better result from Massini Man. He’s not the most reliable and his jumping can let him down, but I think he can run better than the market suggests and any 18/1 or bigger appeals.
Cheekpieces may bring a return to form
The other horse of some interest at a big price is the outsider of the whole field, Wells Gold. He was formerly trained by Fergal O’Brien and managed to win once over hurdles for him before joining Sara Ender.
He ran terribly on his first start for her and was then off the track for 756 days before returning over hurdles at Market Rasen in August last year. Wells Gold was always towards the back of the field that day and was never put under much pressure at any stage, finishing 38 lengths behind the winner.
He was off for 133 days before his latest start over fences at this track and he only got as far as the fourth where he pitched on landing and unseated Charlie Deutsch.
Cheekpieces were back on that day and they are retained today which looks a positive for his chance given that his only win for Fergal O’Brien came when wearing cheekpieces.
It may be that he’s just not the horse he once was as he’s clearly had his problems and he races from 2lb out of the handicap. But I think he may still retains some ability and any 25/1 or bigger appeals.