RAINBOW DREAMER (6.10) can repeat last year's emphatic victory in the two-mile Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton.
Alan King's stayer had more than three lengths to spare 12 months ago and is expected to have the legs of Mildenberger, two lengths adrift of my selection when they met 37 days ago at Newcastle. Mekong is a good sort and would be a threat if wound up.
It is not often a two-horse race gets the pulse racing but the match between Nicky Henderson’s Dame De Compagnie and Cornerstone Lad isn’t to be missed at Ayr.
The former, sporting the JP McManus colours, landed a significant gamble in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and comes a long way to make her chasing debut. Cornerstone Lad goes well on heavy ground, defeating reigning champion Buveur D’Air and Silver Streak in the 2019 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. Micky Hammond’s gelding made a satisfactory start over fences when chasing home Cheddleton at Haydock but gives 7lb to his southern challenger. Unless you hold a strong opinion either way, this is probably one to sit back and enjoy without necessarily having a punt.
Ben Pauling saddles IMPERIAL KNIGHT (12.55) in the 3m novices’ hurdle and his gelding should cope with this slog in the mud. A repeat of his second to Silva Eclipse at Haydock last January may give him the edge over Carlisle scorer Seven Eye Bridge and Gold Miner, a disappointing 11-10 favourite over 2m 3f at Catterick.
CHARM OFFENSIVE (3.00) has twice finished fourth at Hexham this winter and Nick Alexander’s mare now takes the handicap route under Brian Hughes. Timeless Beauty carries the colours of Greenock owners Paddy and Scott Bryceland and she is another dropping into handicaps off a low mark for Warren Greatrex. Tom Lacey’s Sinndarella also falls into that category, so the betting market should be informative.
Some modest types go to post for the 3m handicap hurdle and MADE FOR YOU (3.35), third at Fakenham recently, should be on the premises. J’ai Froid was quite well backed at Haydock but finished tailed off behind Bushypark. This Exeter winner is surely capable of better things and a visor is applied.
12:30 Southwell - Race: 1
13:00 Southwell - Race: 2
13:20 Leopardstown - Race: 1