Valuable nursery in the spotlight as track kicks off all-weather season
32Red.com Nursery Handicap | 6f | ATR
Southwell belatedly gets its winter all-weather season under way on Thursday with an eight-race card highlighted by the first running of this £20,000 nursery.
The Nottinghamshire course staged plenty of jump fixtures but none on the Flat during the summer as a consequence of losing some meetings to sister track Newcastle.
During the off-season local officials have been busy addressing drainage issues on the bend after the winning post and have relaid areas of the Fibresand surface to bring it up to date.
The feature race has attracted strong support from across Britain, including two runners trained by North Yorkshire-based Richard Fahey, who fields The Feathered Nest and Spin Doctor, both winners on the all-weather last time.
Fahey said: "Fair play to Southwell for putting on such a valuable card and it will be interesting to see how it rides after the summer off.
"The Feathered Nest won well at Chelmsford and is progressive but it depends how she handles the different surface. The same applies to Spin Doctor, who won over five furlongs on the Tapeta at Newcastle but is up in trip."
Newmarket trainers are also represented, with Chris Dwyer sending Erissimus Maximus up the A1 after three decent efforts at Yarmouth.
He said: "I'm looking forward to seeing the track if they've done some work on it and hopefully Erissimus Maximus should go on it as he works well on the all-weather at home."
Shamsaya out to make amends
Simon Crisford runs Shamsaya, who is on a recovery mission after disappointing at Ayr last time.
He said: "She'd been consistent until she ran below par at Ayr but she may well have been out of her depth in Group 3 company. It's her first time on the all-weather but she's fresh and well and we'll give it a go."
Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said of the track: "It's not exactly a new surface we've put down, rather we've replaced those areas that weren't relaid after the last flood a few years ago.
"We had no racing on it this summer, which meant we were able to have the time to undertake the work.
"We're pleased to be putting on a valuable card for our first meeting back, which has seen an injection of cash by Arc, including a valuable nursery that was formerly run at Lingfield."
Duncan added: "We may have fewer fixtures than before but we've a better spread of meetings, especially in the new year."