Tom Lacey’s charge will strip fitter today after his first run of the campaign

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Alan Thompson has two selections to follow from the jump cards at Lingfield and Southwell…

Vado Forte will enjoy today's conditions

13:00 Southwell – Vado Forte £100 Cash

Robert Dunne gets another ride on Tom Lacey‘s Vado Forte, the pair finished an eye catching fourth in a competitive race at Chepstow on just his second chase start. That race is beginning to looking above average, as the first and third have both won next time out and this time he is actually better off at the weights with the re-opposing Katpoli who finished close behind him that day. Soft ground is no cause for concern, the six-year-old has won three times on slow ground over timber, and there is every chance he can run a big race today.

I think a bigger danger than Katpoli to the selection could well be Dan Skelton‘s gelding Monsieur D'Arque. Although he finished well down the field on handicap debut when last seen, that was in Grade 3 company at Cheltenham and this drop in class will certainly be more to his liking. The Skelton team won this last year and I am sure they have every intention of winning it again with their unexposed charge. I just think today, I would rather be with the proven runner on soft ground, Monsieur D'Arque has only encountered soft ground twice but finished well down the field on both occasions.

Drop in trip and weight can see Imperial Acolyte home

14:45 Lingfield – Imperial Acolyte

Nigel Twiston-Davies five-year-old Imperial Acolyte posted his best effort to date when returning after a second wind operation to finish fourth at Ludlow over two miles and five furlongs, the gelding only weakening in the final part of the race. Today, he not only drops in distance but has been given a nice 3lbs back off the handicapper. You have to think this should prove to be his preferred trip and off this rating, he should be right there at the business end of the race.

If he is to win this, the one he will probably have to get the better of is Maypole Class for Jonjo O'Neill, who run well on his handicap bow finishing second, beaten just a couple of lengths. However, the handicapper has given him another 3lb for that effort and while he came from off the pace on his last start, over two miles one furlong, he didn't really give me the impression that this longer trip would be to his advantage. As he made little or no inroads into the the winner's margin, who had made all the running that day, after coming over the last. My preference today is for the runner dropping in trip on heavy ground to the one stepping up.

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