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Southwell preview: Crack Away Jack can cash-in on class drop

Crack Away Jack can take advantage of a huge drop in class to score a long overdue success in the extended 2m 7f handicap hurdle on this evening’s card at Southwell (19.25).

The gelding had some top class form to his name early in his career, finishing fourth to Punjabi in the 2009 Champion Hurdle and runner-up to Big Buck’s in the Aintree Hurdle in 2012.

Although no longer the force of old having been plagued by injuries, the 11-year-old showed he retained ability when third in a class 3 handicap hurdle at Sandown back in March after 733 days on the sidelines.

Crack Away Jack was then out of his depth last time out when seventh of nine to Whisper in the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree, but this class 4 contest is significantly easier and the son of Gold Away is able to race in it off a career-low mark of 135.

His handler Emma Lavell also has a decent overall strike-rate with her few runners at the venue, and with Aidan Coleman in the saddle this represents a golden opportunity for Crack Away Jack to belatedly get back in the winners’ enclosure.

Less Time has a progressive profile and looks a worthy favourite to land the spoils in the 2m 4f handicap chaase (17.20).

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding was very impressive when opening his account over the obstacles with a wide margin success at Market Rasen, but was then let down by his jumping when just third at Catterick.

However, that venue may not have suited and Less Time quickly got back on track last time out at Market Rasen when beaten just a nose by Lord Landen.

That effort suggested Less Time was ahead of his mark, and the six-year-old remains lightly-raced and open to further improvement.

In the 2m novices’ hurdle (18.50), Paolozzi is going to be tough to beat judged if translating the form he showed in bumpers to the obstacles.

The six-year-old has shaped with bags of promise in four starts, winning once, and ran a blinder when last seen in action and finishing third to subsequent Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer in a hot contest at Cheltenham.

That is very strong form in the context of this contest, and the son of Oscar is bred to make a jumper.

Selections:
16.50: Brother Scott
17.20: Less Time (NB)
17.50: Dun Scaith
18.20: Lolli
18.50: Paolozzi
19.25: Crack Away Jack (NAP)
19.55: Last Wish