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Plumpton Preview: Southway Star can shine again

Southway Star is in the form of her life at present and looks weighted to make it five on the bounce in the 3m 1f mares’ handicap hurdle at Plumpton today (1.40).

Bought cheaply out of Sue Gardners’ yard by trainer Neil King, the mare has quickly repaid her purchase fee with four runaway successes over fences.

The first of those successes came off a mark of 81, and the nine-year-old has since constantly defied the handicapper.

Daughter of Morpeth pulled up last time out at Lingfield off 102, and although now switched back to hurdles and running off 112 remains well-treated on her old form over the smaller obstacles.

Southway Star was once rated 119 over hurdles and is just 2lb higher than when last scoring over them.

King has also employed the services of a 7lb claimer to shrewdly take weight off Southway Star’s back and looks to have placed her to perfection to strike while the iron is hot and land another success.

Champion jockey AP McCoy has a 50 per cent strike rate in the last 12 months when teaming up with trainer Jim Best, and that makes Maria’s Choice of obvious interest on handicap debut in the 2m hurdle contest (2.40).

The five-year-old was a fairly useful sort on the level when trained by Alana McCabe, and although he has yet to trouble the judged in four starts in maiden/novice hurdles it would be no surprise to see the son of Oratorio prove a different proposition now sent handicapping.

Maria’s Choice wouldn’t be the first Best horse to do so, and an opening mark of 94 looks potentially exploitable.

The booking of McCoy also suggests connections mean business, and this is a very weak class 5 contest which won’t take much winning.

In the bumper that closes the card (3.40), Corner Creek can build on a very promising debut run to open his account under rules.

The gelding was bought for £100,000 and joined trainer Michael Scudamore after winning his sole start in an Irish point at Toomebridge, where he showed an impressive turn of foot on heavy ground to easily beat Kilgeel by four lengths.

This four-year-old was sent off a well-backed 2/1 second favourite to make a winning debut for Scudamore in what looked a hot bumper at Carlisle last month and ran very well to finish a 2 1/2 lengths runner-up to Bronco Billy.

The pair pulled 10 lengths clear of the third home, and Corner Creek looks an exciting prospect who has a big future ahead of him judged on that effort.

Selections:

12.40: Kleitomachos

1.10: Chris Pea Green

1.40: Southway Star (NAP)

2.10: Alright Benny

2.40: Maria’s Choice (NB)

3.10: Ballyvoneen

3.40: Corner Creek