Kieran O'Neill Southwell Preview: He's my best chance of a winner on the card

24 Feb 2024
Coral Racing Ambassador, Kieran O'Neill, gives an exclusive preview of his four rides at Southwell, including his mount, Forest Of Dean, in the Group 3 Winter Derby.

14:45 Southwell – Fine Wine

He’s a good horse on his day Fine Wine, but I’d say he has a bit to find with a few of these, particularly the favourite Clarendon House. He always jumps well, and he’s a front-runner, so the straight 5f will suit him, but I’d just be a bit worried if something takes us on for the lead. If he gets his own way in front then he can be difficult to peg back, but if he’s taken on then he can down tools pretty quickly to be honest with you.

If he runs to his best then he could run a nice race and hit the frame, but he does look to have it all to do on ratings.

15:20 Southwell – Forest Of Dean

He’s a grand horse Forest Of Dean, and he shows up every year and runs his race. He won this a few years ago, but he’s probably just not quite the horse he was. The prize money for this is getting better, and there seems to be a better quality of horse running in it now, so I’d say this is the strongest race he’s ran in a for a few years.

Lord North will be extremely difficult to beat, but if Forest Of Dean shows up and puts his best forward, then he’s certainly capable of being bang there in the finish.


16:30 Southwell – Aqwaam

I’ve only ridden Aqwaam three times, and I’ve had two wins and a second on him. He’s such a consistent horse, but he’s probably a victim of his own consistency as the handicapper isn’t in a rush to drop him at all.

He’s a very strong traveller Aqwaam, and if he gets a good pace to aim at, then I think he could be the one they’ve all got to beat. He’s not obviously well-handicapped, but I still think he’s got a bit of improvement in him, and I definitely think he’s my best chance of a winner on the card.

18:35 Southwell – Cavalluccio

Cavalluccio seems to show his best on the all-weather, and despite now being off a career-high mark, he’s another horse who I think is still improving. He’s ran well at Southwell before, so the track should be absolutely fine for him, my only slight concern would be the trip. It is a stiff mile at Southwell, but I’d be much more confident if this race was over 1m 2f.

Hopefully they go hard up front and give him a good pace to aim at, and if they do just that, then he could be very competitive at the business end.

Kieran O'Neill, Coral Racing Ambassador
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