Sam Turner's Best BetsBlogSam Turner picks two horses fancied to handle the testing conditions at Southwell on Sunday.

Echiquier (Southwell, 1.45)

Two and a half miles round Southwell will be a big test for this field but ECHIQUIER is proven under the attritional conditions and looks the one to be on from an in-form yard.

The five-year-old won a chase on heavy ground back in his native France - although it was only a two-runner contest - and obliged first time out for new connections very easily at Hexham in October. The latter victory was over hurdles and has to go down as one of the easiest recorded in some time at the track as he dismissed the small field in imperious fashion and hardly broke sweat, cantering through the mud.

It has to be noted that the selection has found it tougher since but wasn’t disgraced in the Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow and again in a valuable handicap at Haydock last time.

Both warm contests were run on livelier going than he is used to and it may be Echiquier wasn’t seen at his best. The sights are lowered on Sunday and, with ideal conditions expected, he can get back on track.

Darling Du Large (Southwell, 2.15)

Wind surgery and a tongue-tie look to have been the making of DARLING DU LARGE who romped to a first success at Hereford in November.

The mare had been well backed on several occasions before the health issue became apparent and despite the problem, only just lost out on heavy going at Newcastle against a heavily odds on favourite. She looked like having the race wrapped up but couldn’t quite hold on as the exertions took their toll at a crucial time.

No such problems though at Hereford, where signs of a breathing issue failed to appear and, although that was on much faster going than today’s, the mud should now hold no fears.


Echiquier (Southwell, 1.45) 1pt win @ 15-8

Darling Du Large (Southwell, 2.15) 1pt win @ 2-1