The Plan is to pick a race each day and give it a fairly detailed preview - hopefully picking up a worthwhile punt, but not scrabbling around for one. In reality, the "every jumps day" might prove impractical. For instance, you have been to Plumpton, had a couple of pints, get the train back, go to the pub. There might well be time to go through a race and publish, but no-one wants the unintelligible guff. So The Plan and The Harsh Reality may not always coincide.

The verdict is simple for each horse: The more Axes the better, but lay, or at least avoid, the Stalins. Keep a wary eye on the Mysterons
In order to handle changeable ground, a preference table has been added - the key is:
Y+ = Strong preference      Y = OK      Y? = Probably OK      ?Y = Maybe OK      ? = insufficient evidence
?x = Maybe a problem      x? = probably a problem      x = definite problem      blank = no evidence to judge
18th November, Fontwell 2.40, Sun Racing Southern National (class 3, 0-140)

Course: Figure of eight, sharp, level

Distance: 3 miles 3.5 furlongs

Going: Good to Soft (Soft places)

Stables in strong form: Fergal O'Brien, Johnny Farrelly, Colin Tizzard

Stables in below par form: none

Claiming Jockey Watch: Daniel Sansom (Cap Horner) claims 5 lb, 33/288
Firstly, this is not a National - it is not long enough. Secondly, this is not a National - the line-up is nowhere near bewildering enough. There are some in here that have no problem giving you a nasty surprise, especially when you have pitched against them. Caution is in the front of the mind, but the selection is Morney Wing at 9/2. Be wary of a market move for Wizards Bridge, as his last race was too bad to be true.

HorseGoing DistanceCourse Comments
HeavySoft Gd-SoftGoodGd-Fm3m 3.5fF8SharpLevel
------------------------ -------- -------------------------------------------
Mighty LeaderY?YYY?Y/YYYproven to 3m 2.5f
Gingilix?YYYYYYproven to 3m 2f
Shanroe SantosYYYY?YY?/YYY
Doing FineYYYYYYY1st time visor
Robert's StarYYYYYY/YYY
Potters Approachx??YY/YYYproven to 3m 2.5f
Wizards BridgeY?YY?Yx?YYYproven to 3m 2f
Cap HornerxYYx?YYYYY
Points of Order
MIGHTY LEADER (Fergal O'Brien), 11-12, official rating 134, cheekpieces & tongue tie

After a fall on his chase debut connections gave a massive vote of confidence in his skills by going rapidly back to hurdles with him. The revisit of this job happened in May and he won a three horse race, got beaten in a field of four, won a five horse affair, then lost in competent fashion in races of six and seven horses. He proved at Perth in September that badly supprorted races are not essential, but he has lost at Wincanton since then. The policy he adopts is "when in doubt, jump right" and his chances depend on how many doubts that he fumbles over today.

GINGILI (Johnny Farrelly), 11-11, or 133, visor & tongue tie

At one stage, spread from Irish points through bumpers and into hurdles, he won five in a row. After that he was part of his owners' dispersal from Donald McCain and lost the thread completely from there. A second change of yard produced an upturn in output, winning four out of ten in the last couple of years. The most recent race was in May, when he pulled up in a valuable handicap chase at Uttoxeter, since which a wind operation has been applied. This might be the solution to the occasional days where he has appeared a bit resentful of being involved in a race. He is certainly capable of going well fresh and he has won a 3m 2f chase at Fontwell.

SHANROE SANTOS (Lucy Wadham), 11-10, or 132, blinkers

Another horse who has not won as often lately as was the case in the past, part of the reason for him is that he races quite often and not everything is perfect when he does. Last season saw him go to the well ten times and win only once, but five of the runs were on left-handed tracks, which are not really his cup of tea. That did not stop him being runner-up in the Sussex National at the start of the year, to prove stamina in a way not all of the enemy can boast. A very nice loosener at Carlisle should set him up for this - the horse one place behind him won the veterans' chase at Sandown last Sunday.

DOING FINE (Neil Mulholland), 11-10, or 132, visor & tongue tie

He has a booking at Cheltenham on Saturday, but this would appear to be a more winnable option and whilst he has not raced over fences at Fontwell, his one run apiece as a bumper horse and a hurdler have suggested that he is happy to be doing fine when he comes to the place. He was in good form all through last season, ending up with fourth place in the Scottish National, which confirms the bluff in his Fontwell record - actual wins are not that common and occur when he is on a galloping track. After a disappointing comeback run at Cheltenham last month, cheekpieces have been swapped out for a visor.

ROBERT'S STAR (Mark Bradstock), 11-2, or 124. cheekpieces

In five chases an already sound history of wins and places has been enhanced by never finishing worse than fourth and three months off over the late summer saw him return with a close third at Stratford. As a hurdler he concentrated at distances around two and a half miles, and over fences he has hovered just short of of three miles for the most part - it does not mean that he will not last this far, but he is less well rehearsed than some of the opposition. It is very easy to see that being the difference between success and just another place.

POTTERS APPROACH (Dan Skelton), 11-1, or 123, cheekpieces

For a race of this nature he is quite inexperiencd, having contested three Irish points, a bumper, five hurdles and two chases. The first try over fences was getting bashed by Lil Rockerfeller in a beginners' chase. Right at the end of last month he had a go in novices' handicap with cheekpieces fitted and it turned out to be a much more functional approach. It is also worth noting that he would have found the 23 day gap between races more helpful than the 500 days that he had to deal with before. The ground is possibly a big deal, with all of his best efforts being on good - the soft ground attempts have been few enough in number that he could yet adapt now that headgear's importance has become apparent.

WIZARDS BRIDGE (Colin Tizzard), 11-0, or 122, cheekpieces

Over the years he has been nicely predictable in his inconsistency - wins at regular intervals and energy saved by pulling up quite often when he does not succeed. The last race, after six months off, was a rather dismal hurdling effort, which has led to blinkers being dropped and a first use of cheekpieces for nearly three years. He has not contested this particular race before, but his record at Fontwell over fences is 1P11, and the latest of those was from a rating of 121 (although opposition was a bit thin on the ground), so there is no reason to be lacking confidence - other than that shoddy hurdles effort last time.

CAP HORNER (Seamus Mullins), 10-7, or 115

As a hurdler he showed up well in a couple of small field novice hurdes when ruthlessly spurned by the betting market, yet it took a while, a turn to fences and a harsh lesson with a pulled up at the first try before he found out how to win. It was at long odds around Lingfield and he followed it with another pulled up. The consistency arrived at the start of this year, with a Taunton win over slightly further than this and a couple of places, although he flopped at Fakenham on the final race of spring. He has been absent for six months and has so far not excelled when lacking a recent run.

MORNEY WING (Charlie Mann), 10-1, or 109, cheekpieces & tongue tie

The autumn campaign has got off on the right foot with a win over 3m 2f here and then third at Warwick just over a week ago to Gardiners Hill, who followed up at Ludlow on Thursday. Consistency has not been a strength of his, but one thing that stands out in this context, even though it is eighteen months back, was a fourteen lengths loss to Shanroe Santos when conceding a pound. A repeat of that would pop him right in the mix. Another eye catching effort is winning the Sussex National in 2017, from a much higher handicap rating. The sole doubt is that he may have reached a stage where he only delivers when in an easy opening. It is worth risking that such a scenario is not yet true.
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