Daily Mail tipster Sam Turner has two selections at Southwell and Exeter on Sunday.
Speed Dating (Southwell, 4.45)
SPEED DATING is no world beater but looks a horse worth following on Southwell’s Fibresand surface.
The selection had shown signs of ability when third in a valuable 18-runner, soft-ground seller at York last June, taking time to get going then picking well but too late to seriously challenge. After being gelded and joining Derek Shaw, he posted another solid effort at Doncaster - again on soft going - but failed to build on that until appearing at today’s venue in late November.
Clearly suited to the slow-riding Fibresand, the gelding recovered from a poor start, faced the kick-back without a problem and got on top late to record a first victory. Back to normal and last at Newcastle a few days later, he returned to Southwell after Christmas and very nearly made it a 100% track record but was denied by a fast-closing short head.
Mid-division at Kempton last time, he does seem a different horse here and is back after a mini-break. He can give the Mark Johnston pair something to think about.
Perfect Candidate (Exeter, 3.30)
PERFECT CANDIDATE won this veterans’ chase three years ago and the old boy is back and in fine nick.
The 2017 victory was most impressive as he led from start to finish and galloped the field into the ground under similar conditions. His next run was in the Grand National in which he was pulled up and then off the track for several months. Since then it has been hard work, including when falling back at Aintree but he did win a Grade 2 at Cheltenham and two years later - last November - a £16,500 stayers’ handicap at Haydock.
Perfect Candidate couldn’t follow up back at the Merseyside venue last time when out-pointed by an impressive Lord Du Mesnil but remains very well handicapped off a mark of 135 compared to 150 when he won this in 2017. The ageing legs will be refreshed by a 41-day break and, no doubt, this will have been a target for some time.
Speed Dating (Southwell, 4.45) 1pt win @ 11-4
Perfect Candidate (Exeter, 3.30) ½pt ew @ 6-1