Bandit set to nick Southwell prize

Steve Hughes has two jumpers to follow on Tuesday

Low grade action again on Tuesday but there is a bit more jumping action of interest. I have an each-way fancy for a course specialist at Sedgefield and a young hurdler can prove to classy in Southwell’s feature race of the day.

Southwell 1.50: Bandit Country

After making a storming start to the season during the summer, the Jonjo O’Neill bandwagon has rather hit the buffers in recent weeks – however there have been enough horses running well to suggest his better handicapped horses should be followed and Bandit Country certainly fits the bill after two promising efforts in novice company this autumn.

He will make a fine staying chaser next term, but for now he can earn his keep over hurdles. A winner on racecourse debut in a bumper at Market Rasen last December, he was unable to defy a penalty in two subsequent runs, but performed well to finish third on each occasion.

This season began with a very promising second around Chepstow’s stiff 2m4f and although he was a beaten favourite at Carlisle last time, the main issue there was his constant tendency to hang to his left around a right handed track. That won’t be an issue around this left handed circuit and whilst he has yet to try 3m, this sharp track does not place such a premium on stamina. I am sure he will turn out to be a good deal better than a 118 rated horse by the season end, so just a little improvement today ought to be enough.

Sedgefield 2.00: Sam Lord

The old man of the party at 10yo, Sam Lord has a very solid record at Sedgefield and will surely be fitter for his recent fifth place here on his seasonal comeback. In a race lacking any real favourite, he looks each-way value.

His record at the Durham track now reads 11122275 and he seems to handle most ground having won on everything from good to heavy.
Having raced over further than 2m1f recently, it is probably a good thing that the ground will be soft today to bring that stamina into play. That said all his wins have come over this trip, most recently when winning at Newcastle in January off the exact same mark of 105 as today.

He managed a couple of second places in the spring, and is entitled to come on for his last run given that came off a five month layoff. Trainer Jimmy Moffatt is coming off his most successful month for almost two years in November with a 3-11 record so the stable is going well offering further cause for optimism.

Recommended bets:

2pts win – Bandit Country – 1.50 Southwell – 13/8 general

1pt each-way – Sam Lord – 2.00 Sedgefield – 14/1 Skybet, Bet365

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