Weighty issue for Radsoc De Sivola at Southwell
If Radsoc De Sivola wins the grandnational2017.com Chase at Southwell (2.00) will it be a record weight carrying performance?
Not the biggest weight that's ever been carried but the weight furthest out of the handicap.
Radsoc De Sivola has a long handicap weight of 6st 13lb but has to carry 10st 3lb, which means that John Cornwall's 12-year-old is an enormous 46lb out of the handicap.
For optimists who believe that hope springs eternal there is the memory of Iris De Balme's 66-1 triumph in the 2008 Scottish Grand National when 26lb out of the handicap.
When Astral Charmer won the same race in 1981, also at 66-1, I think he was also way out of the handicap but haven't been able to confirm it. Does anyone know? Help!
It makes the 9lb out of the handicap that Phar Away Island has to cope with at Lingfield (4.50) seem trivial.
Even so, John Berwick's nine-year-old is unlikely to give the Devon-based farrier and permit holder his first winner under Rules since Mungo Jerry caused a 33-1 upset at Exeter nine years ago.
Sadly, mishaps excepted, Radsoc De Sivola's connections will have to settle for the £357.75 awarded to the horse finishing fourth and last.
It's better than nothing.
At the other end of the weights, in Lingfield's novices' handicap chase (3.20) Ardmayle carries 12st 5lb.
Nowadays, outside hunter chases, it is unusual for a horse to carry that much without a claiming jockey on board to reduce the burden.
Ardmayle carries a 7lb penalty for winning convincingly in the mud at Leicester recently and if it's mud you want, Lingfield is historically the place to find it.
The drop back to two miles might be against Ardmayle but the promising five-year-old, ridden by the very capable Adam Wedge, has a fine chance of joining the select band of 21st century chasers to have won a handicap carrying more than 12st 4lb. Go on!
Go on, too, Sammy Jo Bell, who finally returns after a horribly long spell off injured. Bell was a key player, along with Hayley Turner and Emma-Jayne Wilson, in the wonderfully enjoyable triumph of the girls team at Ascot's Shergar Cup in 2015.
She won on both Royal Signaller and Shell Bay and rode 28 winners that year but the high profile Shergar Cup success didn't give Bell's career an obvious boost and being unable to race ride since last May means she will need plenty of determination.
Neither Josephine Gordon nor Jane Elliott nor Hollie Doyle, whose claim is now down to 3lb, need it.
Not for the first time, Elliott rode a thoroughly competent race to win on Tartan Bute at Lingfield on Saturday while Gordon needs no promotion. I recommend watching her ride on Bush House at Wolverhampton on February 20.