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Southwell Preview: Minella Bliss poised to open chasing account

Minella Bliss posted a solid effort when runner-up last time out and can go one better to open his account over the larger obstacles in the extended 3m novices’ handicap chase at Southwell today (1.30).

The James Evans’ trained gelding ran his best races over fences when chasing home What A Good Night at Uttoxter last week, travelling sweetly for much of the contest and sticking to the task well to go down by a length to the eased down winner.

The nine-year-old is due to go up 3lb for that effort in future races, but is able to race in this off the same mark of 81.

It gives Minella Bliss a massive chance at the weights, especially as the son of Old Vic receives a massive 22lb from main market rival and favourite Frontier Vic.

Vic is making his chasing debut and is rated 105 over hurdles, whereas Minella Bliss was once rated 114 over the smaller obstacles and has chasing experience under his belt.

That experience is a major plus, and based on hurdles’ ratings Frontier Vic faces a mammoth task trying to concede som uch weight to Minella.

In the 2m 4d handicap hurdle (3.35), Muckle Roe looks weighted to go well for red-hot trainer Nigel Twiston- Davies.

The gelding has shaped with promise in novice hurdles, most notably when runner-up to Mountain King at Ludlow back in January.

After being held-up at the rear of the field, Muckle Roe made good headway five from home and stayed on well to be beaten 12 lengths despite clouting the third last.

The winner is a useful sort now rated 135, and Muckle Roe finished 3 1/4 lengths in front of Red Seventy who went on to score next time up on handicap debut off a mark of 117.

That is strong form in the context of this class 4 contest and makes Muckle Roe’s opening handicap mark of 114 look potentially on the lenient side.

Tinseltown has a decent record at the track and can take advantage of a drop in the weights to land the 2m handicap hurdle (4.10).

The gelding’s last win over the obstacles came over course and distance in June 2012, where he made all and only had to be pushed out to score by 2 1/2 lengths off a mark of 105.

Th eight-year-old went on to finish runner-up over course and distance in his next two starts, and the last of those came off a rating of 111 when ridden by Tom Scudamore.

Scu is back in the saddle again this afternoon for the first time since, and Tinseltown is now able to race off the same as when last successful.

Selections:
1.30: Minella Bliss (NAP)
2.00: What A Good Night
2.30: Gizzit
3.00: Monbeg Theatre
3.35: Muckle Roe (NB)
4.10: Tinseltown
4.40: Susie Sheep
5.10: Kev The Car