3.35 Southwell, Sunday, February 25

In the Grandnational.Fans Handicap Hurdle (3.35) at Southwell on Sunday, the booking of Tom Scudamore for Kansas City Chief – his only ride of the day – takes the eye. However, Neil Mulholland’s 9-year-old was beaten, in this grade, under a 7lb penalty at Catterick last time and is another 7lb higher in the weights now the handicapper has had his say, so looks worth opposing.

 

Minella On Line is clearly a difficult horse to catch right, but ran respectably, off a handicap mark of 134, back over fences in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last month and may be able to take advantage of his 10lb lower mark over the smaller obstacles. Considering that his sole win in that sphere was over 2 miles 7½ furlongs, his third of eight, beaten 12½ lengths, behind De Rasher Counter over 2 miles 3 furlongs at Fontwell on his penultimate start wasn’t without promise. He steps back up in distance, off a 3lb lower mark, and has underfoot conditions to suit, so he has plenty going for him if in cooperative mood.

He’s beautifully bred, too, being by King’s Theatre out of a Bob Back mare, but he is nine years old now and has been pulled up on seven of his 25 starts under Rules; he’ll never be a superstar, but isn’t without ability and represents a sporting wager.

 

Selection: Southwell 3.35 Minella On Line to win

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