Experience is Key for Cousin Khee in Stayers’ Handicap at Southwell

The weights for the greatest horse race in the world – the Randox Health Grand National – to be run at Aintree on April 14th, will be announced on Tuesday with the Becher Chase winner Blaklion unlikely to be deposed at the top of the market at 10/1 , irrespective of the weight he is allocated by BHA handicapper Phil Smith.

Smith is framing the weights for the last time in 2018 and remember this is the only race in the calendar where he has the ability to tinker with the weights. Blaklion is due to race at Haydock Park in the Grand National Trial on Saturday and is the 3/1 market leader for the weekend.

Remember the winner will not incur a penalty for Aintree and I am more interested at this stage on Three Faces West ( 7/1 each way four places) who was still tanking along when falling in the Welsh National last month.

Ayr

We lost Lingfield to the elements yesterday and Ayr has now been cancelled due to the inclement weather. All eyes on Southwell for today’s picks.

 

Southwell

No problems expected at Southwell and the extended two-and-a-quarter miles on fibresand will take some getting in a competitive Stayers’ Handicap. The veteran Cousin Khee (2.55) is 11lbs lower than when last winning here but he was staying on over 1m 6f here back in December under today’s pilot and he can give Hughie Morrison a welcome winner.

Cousin Khee

Coeur De Lion makes his fibresand debut and is a fascinating runner for Alan King – a note of the market is recommended. The vote, however, goes to the progressive Serenity Now (3.25) who steps up in grade and is chasing the hat-trick from a 4lbs higher mark for Brian Ellison.

 

Volatile is favoured by the Conditions of the race in the Novice Stakes but I think he might be vulnerable making his fibresand debut and Light Laughter (4.30) travelled well on her British debut for Charlie Fellowes. She receives 16lbs from the Jamie Osborne runner. That run was over 7f but the way she travelled suggested a slight drop in trip would not inconvenience her. If she adapts to today’s surface she must go well.

In the finale, Crosse Fire (5.00) has been given a chance by the handicapper and this seven-time course winner gets the vote with Luke Morris taking over in the plate. Morris rode the gelding to win from a 1lb higher mark the best part of three years ago and the horse was beaten less than a couple of lengths here on New Year’s Day from a 7lbs higher mark.

Tips:

Cousin Khee  8/1

Serenity Now  5/1

Light Laughter  6/4

Crosse Fire  7/2

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Charlie McCann

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