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Southwell Preview: Optimistic Bias has plenty in his favour

Optimistic Bias shaped with plenty of promise when runner-up on hurdling debut and looks to have been found a good opening to go one better in the extended 2m 4f contest at Southwell today (3.10).

The gelding finished second on his sole start in an Irish point, splitting subsequent winners Captain Von Trappe and Skylander in what looks a decent contest, before joining trainer Jonjo O’Neill and making a highly encouraging start for Jackdaws castle handler when chasing home Our Kaempfer at Market Rasen.

The six-year-old showed plenty of pace to track the leaders and stuck to the task well, and although no match for the winner the form has a strong look to it.
Our Kaempfer has since come out and landed a decent class 4 context at Kempton in good style off an official rating of 125, and in the circumstances it was an excellent effort from the inexperienced Optimistic Bias to get so close.

The son of Sayarshan is sure to come on a bundle for the run, and the form sets a decent standard in this line-up.

Another plus is that O’Neill has a 26% strike rate with his runners at the venue in the last 12 months (nine wins and 11 placed from 39 runners), and with Richie McLernon in the saddle everything points to a huge run.

Gowanauthat caught the eye last time out and could have got in lightly on handicap debut in the other 2m 4f hurdle contest on the card (3.40).

The gelding made no impact in three runs over hurdles in Ireland last year but landed a point in October and shaped better than the bare result suggests last time out on debut for trainer Charlie Mann when fourth to Sugar Baron at Newbury over 2m 1f on bottomless ground.
The seven-year-old showed plenty of zest to race up with the pace, and after making a mistake two out faded late on to lose third near the line and be beaten 36 lengths.

It was an effort which suggested Gowanauthat would be one to keep an eye on in handicaps, and an opening mark of 99 could well be on the lenient side if he can build on that run.

Today’s quicker ground and step up to trip should certainly suit given that Gowanauthat’s point win came on good ground over 3m, and if the fitting of the tongue-tie for the first time has the desired effect the son of Golan looks weighted to go well.