Horse Racing: Sofias can be the Number One

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Sofias Number One can usher in the new year by returning to the winner’s enclosure at Southwell.

Trained in Nottinghamshire by the capable Roy Bowring, the gelded son of Silver Deputy was a big eyecatcher on his last outing, yet takes a distinct drop in class here.

Bowring’s inmate runs in the Download The Ladbrokes App Claiming Stakes, for which he is favourably treated on the ratings, following a recent fourth-placed finish over this course and distance.

Sofias Number One may have been beaten four and a half lengths, but that perhaps does not tell the full story.

Despite having been caught for speed early on, Mark Coumbe’s mount flew at the finish to suggest his time is near again. That he has already won six times at Southwell must also be a defining factor when trying to make a case for a horse whose relatively high mark has probably convinced connections to give it a go at such a humble grade.

Max The Machine is shortlisted ahead of the Compare Bookmakers At Handicap.

Derek Shaw’s sprinter broke his maiden at the 11th attempt here last October, but had looked hamstrung by the assessor in two subsequent runs. That did not appear that case back over course and distance in December, though, as he only succumbed to Quality Art by a short head.

The form probably does not account to much, but the reapplication of a visor clearly had a galvanising effect on the son of Intikhab.

Max The Machine has gone up another couple of pounds for this assignment, but Shaw has opted to stick with the headgear now he has seemingly rediscovered his mojo.

Layline has often flattered to deceive, but trainer Gay Kelleway must be fairly optimistic of a good show from her charge at Wolverhampton.

The highly-tried gelding has emerged a little more adept on an all-weather surface than on the turf and was not beaten too far over a mile and a half at Southwell last time.