For the final time this year Alan is looking to push his closing P&L figure up as high as he can with his last two selections for 2017 from Southwell and Ludlow...
"She beat a relatively short priced favourtite (rated 81) by a neck on debut and the two of them were five lengths ahead of the rest of the field"
Simon Crisford may only have had four runner at this course in the last 12 months but they have produced two winners for him and he has also had three winners from his last seven runners this month, so the yard are in excellent form. He runs Spinning Melody in the opening race of the day and although the three-year-old filly has only ran twice in public she already has a win to her name, breaking her maiden tag at the first time of asking at Chelmsford City in October, beating a relatively short priced favourtite (rated 81) by a neck - but the two of them were five lengths ahead of the rest of the field. She then went on to finish third on her handicap debut at Wolverhampton last month and gets in here of the same mark.
Good Time Ahead and Restive are currently vying for pole position in the market, but for me both have questions to answer, Good Time Ahead is looking for a hat-trick after a course and distance win two starts ago and then followed up over 1m 6f ten days ago. However, he runs under a penalty here and goes up to Class 4 company where he is currently unplaced in five attempts, finishing last in his last three attempts. Restive is another hat-trick seeker after winning back-to-back over course and distance but that first win was off 67 he runs today off 79. Of the two I prefer Restive but he will have to do something he has never done before and that is win off a mark above 73.
Spinning Melody is obviously still learning but has finished both her races really well and she will still improving, with perhaps plenty more to offer so providing she handles the Southwell surface, I think she is worth following and has every chance of recording her second success in just three starts.
Rockpoint ran well in what could have been a decent Ascot maiden before following that up with three promising runs over hurdles, he has been given an opening mark of 121 and that seems more than fair. He's been progressive and the form of his latest fifth at Ascot looks pretty good in this company, he should also appreciate this softer ground and the extra distance. Of course it can't go unnoticed he also runs in the familiar Thistlecrack colours and these owners (John and Heather Snook) don't own too many duds.
Mixchievous for Venessa Williams looks like being the main danger after he finally got his head in front when he won at Chepstow last month. However, the handicapper has given him a 5lb hike in the weights and he is in a tougher race here. So it will be interesting to see how he copes in this company. I think Rockpoint in the hands of Robbie Power is the one to beat and at 3/1 he carries my final bet of the year.
2017 Overall (prior to this week): +37.45 pts
This week so far...
Staked: 12 pts
Returned: 29.85 pts