Peak form is Perfect for Southwell
Perfect Peak is not an easy horse to catch right, but she might well be on a going day in the Unibet Offer Daily Jockey & Trainer Specials Handicap at Southwell.
Mick Easterby's sprinter is hardly renowned for her consistency, but there was enough to take from her last run at Southwell to envisage a decent performance back over her preferred trip of five furlongs.
The four-year-old daughter of Distant Peak was well placed to challenge in a six-furlong handicap, but a once-promising charge wilted inside the final 200 yards.
Perfect Peak eventually finished second, beaten by just under three lengths, but that was a big step in the right direction following a no-show at Southwell on January 2.
With Nathan Evans once again taking off a very handy 7lb, and with the visor and tongue-tie still in place, Easterby has seemingly covered all bases.
And though she has gone up 2lb for this, Perfect Peak remains fairly treated if her sole victory last summer is taken into account.
Furiant bumped into a red-hot rival at Lingfield earlier in the month but should not have quite as much to do in the Daily Unibet Early Prices From 9am Handicap.
Mark Johnston's three-year-old was sent on his way a well-backed 6-4 favourite on his first start of the year, but a race-fit Aguerooo was too good on the day.
Very unexposed on the all-weather circuit, Furiant should have gained plenty with that run in safe-keeping.
This also looks a weaker race.
Somerset Jem has to be of interest in the Higos Insurance Services Bideford Novices' Handicap Hurdle at Exeter.
Kevin Bishop's seven-year-old looked limited in novice hurdles earlier in the season, but a switch to handicapping has yielded sudden improvement.
He absolutely bolted up at Wincanton in February off a humble mark - a victory that saw him raised 16lb by the assessor.
Even in spite of that elevated rating, Somerset Jem showed he can still be competitive with a game second behind Tagrita back at Wincanton on March 2.
The form from that race has worked out very nicely as the third horse home, Murrayana, won well at Uttoxeter at the weekend, while Tagrita is obviously no slouch either.
Bishop stated that Somerset Jem has had his problems - he apparently had to take three courses of antibiotics to cure a mucus issue - but he is clearly in a very happy place right now and should be followed over this longer trip.
Gold Ingot deserves close scrutiny in the Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Chase at Wetherby.
Trained by the very capable Caroline Bailey, the nine-year-old chestnut has held a decent level of form since Christmas and looked useful at Leicester last month.
The ground was quite awful that day, but Gold Ingot stayed on stoutly in a two-mile handicap chase to finish second behind Pret A Thou, beaten by four and a half lengths in a fair old race.
Bailey's representative has not won since December 2014 over just shy of three miles at Newcastle.
With this in mind, it is interesting to see him step up by nearly three-quarters of a mile at the Yorkshire circuit, while he is now lower in the weights than when he struck at Gosforth Park.
EXETER: 2.00 Vering, 2.30 In The Crowd, 3.05 Lime Street, 3.40 Port Melon, 4.10 Just A Par, 4.40 So Oscar, 5.15 Somerset Jem.
SOUTHWELL: 2.00 PERFECT PEAK (NAP), 2.55 Magical Lasso, 3.30 Blades Lad, 4.00 Furiant, 4.30 Lackaday, 5.05 Never Say.
WETHERBY: 2.10 Kuda Huraa, 2.45 Bertie Lugg, 3.20 Return Flight, 3.50 Ballyculla, 4.20 Lord Golan, 4.55 Gold Ingot, 5.25 Happy Hollow.
DOUBLE: Perfect Peak and Somerset Jem.