Tapeta: Southwell Ushers In New Era Today

First race is off at 18h00 today

Group-race performer Virgin Snow is the headline act as Southwell races on its new Tapeta surface for the first time today.

There are 95 runners across the eight races, with the £40,000 Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Winter Oaks Trial taking centre stage.

The 11-furlong handicap is a stepping-stone to the new £100,000 Coral Winter Oaks, one of the highlights of Lingfield Park’s inaugural three-day Winter Million weekend at the end of January.

Top-weight Virgin Snow returns after more than a year off the track. The daughter of six-time G1 winner Snow Fairy has twice placed at G3 level, finishing second in Newcastle’s Hoppings Stakes and third on her latest appearance in the Pride Stakes at Newmarket in October 2020.

Trainer Ed Dunlop said: “Virgin Snow has not run for a very long time due to a setback and on top of that she has to give a lot of weight away.

“This is very much a starting point and we are hoping to continue forward to the new race at Lingfield in the new year.

“She had some smart form as a three-year-old and it will be great to get her back on the track, but I expect her to improve a lot for the run.”

Regarding the new Tapeta surface, Dunlop added: “I am very pro the switch from Fibresand to Tapeta.

“Southwell is a fantastic racecourse – with a great layout – and I expect the racing there going forward will be well-subscribed and very popular.”

The seven runners in the Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Winter Oaks Trial also include James Fanshawe’s progressive four-year-old Viola, who was third in the Listed Coral EBF River Eden Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield Park in October.

Roger Varian’s runner Timeless Soul finished second in a handicap at Glorious Goodwood on her penultimate start, while Alba Rose makes a quick reappearance for Mark Johnston after finishing second at Lingfield Park on November 30.

Lower Street, who is seeking a three-timer after wins at Wolverhampton and Kempton Park, is one of three runners out of the handicap alongside Samara Star and One Last Dance.

The other valuable contest on the card is the £30,000 #betyourway At Betway Handicap over five furlongs, in which Night On Earth chases a hat-trick for Mick Appleby and The Horse Watchers.

A future star could emerge in the two divisions of the Coral Proud To Support British Racing EBF Novice Stakes, with top owners Godolphin, Juddmonte, Qatar Racing and King Power Racing all represented.

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