1.20 Leicester

Maybe the official handicapper has started feeling sorry for Donald McCain after a couple of tough seasons because he could easily have given Sean Ban a higher mark than 110 after two very eyecatching efforts on his only starts over hurdles. He is up against some extremely exposed types in the opener at Leicester and, despite carrying top weight, he is not giving too much away all round. In my view he does not need to improve to win but it is highly likely he will do especially now that the stable has finally hit form.
Sean Ban - 4pts @ 4.0

2.05 Southwell

Grandest needs to come back to form and probably needs to start a lot quicker than he has been in many of his races. He has the best of the draw and has Ben Curtis riding which is a huge positive at Southwell, while the market is giving us a positive message already. He has dropped 19lb and his stable is in form so if he can’t show anything here, where he registered his only win, he probably won’t again.
Grandest - 1pt @ 5.0

2.20 Wetherby

Tutchec is the second of today's selections that needs to come back from the dead but, despite recent form figures PPP, there are obvious reasons why he will do. Firstly, he too has been supported overnight and comes from a stable in a rich vein of form. I cannot believe any physical problem that may have explained his deterioration in form has not been addressed in the 300-plus days he has been absent so am not concerned now that the market spoken and he obviously benefits from a much lower handicap mark today. He has two last-time out winners to beat this afternoon but they are not in the same league as the selection on a going day and Take The Mick conspires to beat himself these days.
Tutchec - 2pts @ 4.5

2.50 Wetherby

Three miles around Wetherby is ideal for Rocky Stone and, once again, the resurgent McCain form is a very positive factor. Clearly the horse has had problems but he has managed two runs already this season and is three pounds lower than his latest win which was only four outings ago which takes some doing. Noel Fehily takes over from 7lb and 10lb claimers and this represents a major plus. In a race full of largely disappointing types, he looks an each-way banker.
Rocky Stone - 2pts e/w @ 6.5

3.10 Southwell

Andrew Balding does not run many at Southwell but has a bigger than 30% strike-rate when he does. Dungannon really likes it here, probably because races are not nearly as competitive this time of year as the high-class handicaps he is forced to contest in the summer. Stall 3 is good and, despite being worse off, I think he is very likely to confirm recent form with Anonymous John.
Dungannon - 4pts @ 4.0