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Horse Racing Tips: Keith Melrose's Southwell Racing League tips

The penultimate fixture of the 2022 Racing League takes place at Southwell on Thursday evening and Keith Melrose from the Racing Post provides his best bets on the card.

7.45 Southwell
Watchya @ 6/1
1pt win

8.15 Southwell
Thunder Ball @ 11/2
1pt win

8.45 Southwell
Equality @ 11/4
1pt win

Watchya to bring Cox and Kirby cheer

While the Racing League is a series of competitive handicaps, some are still warmer than others and the race won by Badri a fortnight ago would be one of the lesser events. He is up 8lb and looks a vulnerable favourite.

Seven Brothers was possibly an unlucky loser on last week's Racing League card at Windsor, but the one who takes the eye most is Watchya.

This strapping three-year-old has won three of his five starts this year, including both of his runs on the all-weather. The blips came at Ascot and York and, respectively, involved him missing the break and probably coming too soon after a win at Lingfield.

The other win came at Bath, when he did not have to improve but dominated throughout.

He should be up to mastering his new mark and, while he is drawn wider than ideal in stall 13, he has the advantage of regular rider Adam Kirby on his back.

If there is a way to negate any damage the draw might cause, all-weather ace Kirby should find it on board Clive Cox's charge.

Ball to Thunder home

The nursery that follows has some highly experienced sorts towards the head of the market, who are being preferred to the handicap debutants further down the card.

Somewhere in between is Thunder Ball, who made further progress on his handicap and all-weather debut last time and can keep improving.

Thunder Ball ran at Lingfield just over a week ago and that day only just failed to get up against Queen Of Uplands, who had enjoyed the run of things.

The way Thunder Ball pulled in the early stages suggests he will have derived something for the experience, while the handicapper has not enjoyed the same luxury.

Thunder Ball will be 3lb higher than his mark of 74 in future and can be expected to take advantage of the favourable circumstances to take this contest.

Equality to get his just rewards

Last week's Racing League won by Vintage Clarets was a messy affair, in which those drawn wide had to cover extra ground and those who kept to the inner ran into a lot of fading horses.

One of the latter was Charlie Hills' Equality, who might have overturned the short head that ultimately separated him from the winner had he not been held up in his run.

It is fair to say Equality has not run the races he might and that he is not entirely blameless in that.

However, the strength of his Windsor run, plus his big move before fading at Glorious Goodwood the time before, shows that in terms of form he has no concerns off a mark of 90. Indeed, he was third in the Dash off 4lb higher in June.

The surface holds few fears for Equality, too. He has run twice on the all-weather, finishing second at Lingfield on the Polytrack and winning his only previous run at Tapeta by nine lengths.

Like Thunder Ball, he is well in on BHA ratings (by 4lb) courtesy of his last run and if more goes his way this time, he ought to be able to add to his two career wins.

By Keith Melrose.

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