2:10 – Southwell – 32RED.COM HANDICAP (CLASS 4) (3yo+ 0-80) Standard 7f
Four times course and distance winner Alpha Tauri runs in the opening Class 4 Handicap at Southwell today off an Official Rating of 80. His last run was on the flat turf when he finished 3rd in a Class 6 Handicap off a mark of just 50, which graphically illustrates the difference in the horse’s ability on fibresand compared to turf. To be fair the 6 year old bay gelding has been holding his form well on the turf over the summer with two placed efforts on his last two runs on the flat.
Obviously, he is a much better animal on the fibresand and all four of his career successes have come at the Nottinghamshire venue. He has run here 13 times in total over distances ranging from 5 furlongs to 1 mile, but his specialist trip is 7 furlongs. In 8 runs over the trip at Southwell he has won 4 times and finished 2nd on a further two occasions.
His highest winning mark in a handicap at Southwell is 73 and he runs off 80 today which theoretically means he has to find 7lbs improvement to win today. However, he is being ridden by apprentice jockey Thomas Brown today who is able to claim 7lbs off his back bringing his weight down to the magic figure of 73. Thomas is making a very good start to his career and in 28 rides this season he has won 4 times and finished 2nd on 5 other occasions. His has ridden on the fibresand surface at Southwell 4 times in his career to date and has won once. Alpha Tauti has also won off 76 at Southwell but this was in a Seller.
It is not surprising how many times course specialists come back to Southwell to win off the back of some indifferent performances elsewhere or up against some better fancied but untried horses on the fibresand. Today’s race is a case in point with Anton Chigurh who won at Doncaster in Good to Soft ground last time going off as favourite on his fibresand debut. He may take to the surface and win again today, but as mentioned above, if he does not like it, it is well worth siding with a proven course and distance winner who relishes the surface and is clearly in good heart on the back of his last run on the flat turf.