Expect more from Lavella chaser on second run
Stamina key for Tommie in National
Emma Lavelle has enjoyed a good start to the season and this year is going through a 25% strike-rate over fences and 18% over hurdles, and it's hard to get away from the chances of Hardy Fella in the 13:00.
The step up to 3m unlocked a big chunk of improvement last season when he trounced a field at Ludlow by 12L, but most importantly to translate that performance to Sunday, he made the running, and I do like a front-runner at Fontwell.
The Ludlow victory came over 3m, so the drop to 2m4f shouldn't worry backers, especially with the heavy conditions that will make the trip seem more like 3m.
He made his chase debut and seasonal return last time out, once again at Ludlow. but jumped too wayward for my liking and he seemed intent on taking a few of the fences home with him.
That was his first run over fences so it's harsh to write him off after one effort, but if he can make the running and dictate the tempo, he might be hard to catch from the front as he faces a set of rivals who look beatable.
The field sizes today at Fontwell are fairly small so prices are far from wild, and while it's unexciting going with the 15/82.88 on Tommie Beau, his stamina should see him home in the Southern National over 3m4f.
I've put him up in the column on more than one occasion, although not last time in Sedgefield's Durham National - a race where he produced a fairly dominant performance from the front.
That came over 3m5f, so he's a similar sort of selection to Hardy Fella in the sense that he goes from the front and has bags of stamina.
A 3lb rise isn't too harsh and he's a horse who often has to lumber nigh on 12 stone in races anyway, but this looks slightly easier than the contest at Sedgefield, and Sedgefield form can hold up well.
He's a very likeable horse and he can bag his third regional National hopefully.
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