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Andrew Wootton brings us the latest racing gambles from Sky Bet's trading room.
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Peter Bowen boasts an impressive strike rate of 32 per cent with runners over fences at Southwell in recent years, so there's not much surprise to see his Hodgson well backed to land the opener. His early season form, when second at Haydock and beaten a length into fourth the time after, looks difficult to argue with; though enthusiasm is tempered slightly by poor runs the last twice. One of those was in the Sussex National however, and he's probably run better than the bare form there so he certainly looks of interest off a mark of 103 now that the money is down.
Punditry has been well backed to score at the second time of asking, having finished fourth on debut when running green before showing some ability in the closing stages here 12 days ago. If he improves for that run, as he is expected to, then he shouldn't be far away. He's related to plenty of horses that are rated 80+ and John Gosden knows the family well, so should have a good idea of where he's at right now; he might not even need to be that good to win this.
Successful on his last two starts on the level at the back-end of last year, Sheena West's five-year-old gelding managed to score over hurdles this winter and finish second to Grade 2 winner Dodging Bullets. He's clearly on an upward curve in his career at the moment, improving 22lb over obstacles recently, yet races here off a mark just 3lb higher than when last successful on the flat at Bath - so he could well be a well-handicapped horse. He has form at the track, with a win and a placed effort here in the past, and all looks in order for a big run today.