14:55 Southwell

CUSTARD THE DRAGON (Best price 4-1) ran well enough last time in a Class 5 race over course and distance to suggest that another drop into Class 6 Company would be enough to see him get back to winning ways off of this falling handicap mark.

The eight-year-old is yet to win over this trip of 1m but he has shaped as though this is the distance he needs nowadays and today’s race represents a drop into Class 6 Company for only the second time in his career. His other Class 6 run came over course and distance on his penultimate start where he finished strongly only to be denied by the head of Motawaafeq (69) who subsequently went within head of boosting the form next time and who has won again this month (runs in the 2.25).

The John Mackie trained runner has scored seven of his nine career wins at this venue and he now sits 6lb lower than his last winning handicap mark and on the evidence of his last two course runs he looks ready to strike. The time figure of his latest start when fourth of seven behind, Star Of St James, was faster than both Maykir and False Id and the booking of Graham Lee who rode the selection to success this time last year in a Class 4, boosts confidence.

This tends to be Custard The Dragon’s time of year as backing him in the month of January would have yielded form figures of 48141521112 with all of those coming in higher graded races than the one today. In the last three years he has won off of handicap mark of 70, 81, 81, 80, 77, 71 and 68 and today he runs off a mark of 64.

The danger could be Cheat, who took a step back in the right direction at Chelmsford last time and is well handicapped on his two-year-old form but tries this surface for the first time along with International Law.

Custard The Dragon - 1pt @ 4/1