Finals Day hopefuls in action at Southwell on Thursday

Witch Hunter and Lord Of The Lodge are the headline acts in the seven-furlong Spreadex Sports Best Premier League Odds Handicap (2.10pm), the class two feature at Southwell on Thursday, January 26.

Witch Hunter has twice finished second at Listed level for Richard Hannon, including behind subsequent G2 scorer El Caballo in last season’s Spring Cup at Lingfield Park.

Following a light campaign on the turf, the four-year-old has progressed in three all-weather starts this winter, most recently taking out a seven-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton.

Karl Burke’s Lord Of The Lodge was one of the leading sprinters of last season’s All-Weather Championships, going down narrowly in the Listed Kachy Stakes before finishing fourth on Finals Day.

Witch Hunter is not the only last-time-out-winner in the field, with Tiger Crusade and Zip lining up for David Simcock and Richard Fahey respectively.

Tiger Crusade won a course and distance handicap in good style, while Zip had Lord Of The Lodge back in fourth when successful at Newcastle.

Moai is the unknown quantity as he makes his debut for Ivan Furtado. The five-year-old was a dual winner in France for Pascal Bary as well as making the frame at G3 level.

Furtado said: “We got Moai from France towards the end of last year and this will be a learning point for us. He has had his issues but looks a nice horse.

“French handicap marks are hard to judge. He has been working well with lower level horses, although we do not have much to compare with him on that sort of mark.

“He has been running over a mile and even further but the style of racing is different in France and I think seven furlongs looks a good starting point.

“We know he goes on the all-weather and also likes some cut in the ground on turf. Southwell has been riding quite fast of late so I am hoping the track won’t be too quick for him.”

The 10 runners also include lightly raced four-year-old Tylos, who came within a neck of making a winning debut for Archie Watson at the track recently.

John Quinn’s Titan Rock has his second appearance since undergoing wind surgery, while Another Batt returns for David & Nicola Barron after 250 days off the track.

Haziym, who was a talented performer in France prior to joining Tony Carroll in the autumn, and the Mick Appleby-trained Alexander James complete the line-up.

Earlier on the card, promising three-year-old Brave Emperor aims to bring up a four-timer for Archie Watson and Middleham Park Racing in the It’s Time To Turn To talkSPORT Handicap (1.35pm) over a mile.


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