London – Merryweather has been transformed since switching to the all-weather and looks set to continue her rapid progression on Thursday in the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Handicap at Southwell.
The three-year-old looked to be a regressive sort on turf, but has thrived since switching to Michael Appleby’s yard and is unbeaten in two starts for the trainer.
After a shock victory at Lingfield in early December, the daughter of Dunaden proved it was no fluke with victory over this course and distance at the start of the month.
She won with plenty in hand that day and despite a 2.3kg rise in the weights, Appleby’s charge remains on a workable mark to continue her ascent up the handicap ladder.
Earlier on the card, Holy Eleanor has a golden opportunity to belatedly shed her maiden tag in the Betway Novice Stakes.
Without a win in eight starts, the three-year-old has looked hard to place recently, but showed encouraging signs when a close third in a 1200m handicap at Wolverhampton earlier this month.
The step back in trip to 1000m should pose no issues and she could prove hard to beat with a handy 2.3kg weight pull from her nearest rivals.
Blowing Dixie boasts an impressive record at Southwell and can add to that in the Play 4 To Score At Betway Handicap.
A three-time winner at the track in 2019, the gelding made the perfect start to the new year with an easy victory in a similar course-and-distance contest earlier this month.
Despite a considerable rise in the handicap, Jane Chapple-Hyam’s charge makes a swift return to his favourite venue and sets the standard under in-form jockey Ben Curtis.
At Newcastle, Hart Stopper could capitalise on recent promising efforts in the Play 4 To Score At Betway Handicap.
While yet to win on the allweather, the six-year-old has filled the runner-up spot in two of his last three runs, including when a one-length second at Kempton last time.
The handicapper is giving him a chance by keeping him on the same mark in this.
Jeffrey Harris has shown an aptitude for this track in the past and bids to get back to winning ways in the concluding Betway Casino Handicap.
A winner over both 1000m and 1200m here in October and November, the five-year-old has been well-held the last twice, including when a sluggish start cost him any chance a week ago.
While he remains above his last winning mark, he poses less questions than other rivals and should bounce back to form.
Ex Patriot has been threatening to land a lucrative prize and has the ideal chance to do so in the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park.
Unsuccessful so far this season, the seven-year-old would have been closer in the finish bar a last-fence error in a fierce handicap chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Dropped a little in the weights since, he is being given a chance by the handicapper on his first try at 4800m over fences and should be in the mix if running to his
usual mark. – Press Association