BEN CURTIS, who rode more than 150 winners in his native Ireland before transferring to North Yorkshire last autumn, is beginning to find a useful niche in Britain and can further his reputation by slotting in another winner at Southwell this evening.
Curtis, who is attached to Alan Swinbank's yard at Melsonby near Richmond, rides at Southwell for Alan McCabe and can score on Red Primo, a winner on the course at the beginning of the month.
Partnered on that occasion by Tom Queally, Red Primo, who was making his debut, justified his position as evens favourite with a workmanlike success.
While it would be unwise to get carried away with the value of that performance in a run-of-the-mill race, Red Primo does look as though he is capable of following up in the toteexacta On All Races Classified Stakes, again over six furlongs. He can provide Curtis with his 16th winner of the year and another opportunity to advertise his talents.
Richard Fahey, whose Sandiva is set to contest the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket next Sunday, saddles Royal Connoisseur in the Best Odds Guaranteed At totepool.com Maiden Stakes.
Beaten narrowly on his seasonal reappearance at Thirsk, the three-year-old should be able to go one better in this modest-looking contest.
The £8,000 Exclusive Tickets Giveaways @totepool Handicap is the feature race on the Southwell card and nap selection Realize promises to take the world of beating.
Trained by Hughie Morrison, the gelding made a successful start to the year on this course a fortnight ago when beating Royal Holiday by a length.
He might have well have just needed that outing after his winter break and is likely to have benefited as a result. The handicapper has raised Realize a very fair 3lb for that win and the four-year-old is fancied to oblige again.
There is no doubt that the biggest cheer at Southwell will be raised for General Tufto if he manages to win the opening Win Big With The totejackpot Handicap.
Charles Smith's nine-year-old has a loyal following on this track where he has gained 11 of his 13 career successes. With Joey Haynes taking a valuable 5lb off his back, the popular stalwart is weighted to put an end to his three-strong sequence of second-placed efforts.
At Bath, another course specialist is worthy of note in the 32Red.com Handicap.
Ginzan can not claim the sort of figures boasted by General Tufto, but she has gained three of her five career wins on this tricky course. Sure to be all the better for her respectable comeback effort at Wolverhampton, where she finished fourth, Malcolm Saunders' mare is selected to come good at her favourite venue.
The CB Security Fillies' Maiden Stakes may be won by one of the newcomers, namely Doomah, a daughter of Holy Roman Emperor.
Sean Levey's mount is trained by Richard Hannon, pictured, who is the most successful producer of two-year-old winners in the country and who has more 100 juveniles to go to war with this season.
Sleep Walk is another debutante worth noting in the 32Red Tomb Raider Slot Maiden Stakes.
Trained by Roger Charlton for Prince Khalid Abdullah, Sleep Walk will scarcely need to produce anything more than an average performance to comfortably put his soft race to bed. James Doyle, who will be in the hot-seat aboard the unbeaten favourite Kingman in Saturday's Qipco 2,000 Guineas, takes the mount.
1.30 Spectator, 2.00 Quality Art, 2.30 Doomah, 3.00 Ginzan, 3.30 Sleep Walk, 4.00 Ivor’s Princess, 4.30 Bold Runner.
5.15 General Tufto, 5.45 Red Primo, 6.15 Royal Connoisseur, 6.45 Realize (NAP), 7.15 Meshardal, 7.45 Pearl Princess, 8.15 Adili.
Today’s other meetings: Kempton, Windsor and Wolverhampton.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Lingfield, Newcastle, Nottingham,
Wolverhampton and Yarmouth.