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Sunday 10 December 2017

6.20 Wolverhampton, Tuesday, December 12

The Bet & Watch at Handicap (6.20) at Wolverhampton on Tuesday is an ordinary contest in which recent winning form is thin on the ground. Nevertheless, the only last-time-out winner in the field, Grey Destiny, has been raised a lenient-looking 4lb for winning over course and distance in November and appears to have every chance of following up.

Anthony Brittain’s 7-year-old is hardly a prolific winner, but only narrowly failed over course and distance on his penultimate start before running on well to beat Kafoo by three-quarters of a length, with something in hand, on his return to the West Midlands track 11 days later. The Desideratum gelding has been given five weeks to recover from his exertions and, while he takes a slight rise in class, he is attempting little more than he has achieved in the past and has bright prospects.

Selection: Wolverhampton 6.20 Grey Destiny to win

Monday 20 November 2017

3.40 Lingfield, Tuesday, November 21

What A Welcome finished stone cold last, at three-figure prices, on both turf starts for Eric Wheeler in the summer, but has made significant progress since switched to the Polytrack at Lingfield by his new connections. Having shown signs of ability when fifth of 10, beaten 7¾ lengths, in a Class 5 maiden over a mile on his debut for Patrick Chamings last month, the Nathaniel gelding take a major step forward when winning a 0-70 handicap over 1 mile 2 furlongs earlier this month with a little in hand. His pedigree suggests that an extra two furlongs should be within his compass and a 4lb rise in the weights is offset by a drop back into 0-65 company, so he looks to have bright prospects of following up. In fact, off a mark of 67, he could be absolutely thrown in.

Selection: Lingfield 3.40 What A Welcome to win 9/2

Sunday 29 October 2017

Lingfield Park Racecourse

Lingfield Park Racecourse, from a distance, looks rather simple. However, as part of its large all-weather flat-racing track, there’s plenty to do and a fantastic level of detail to every part of the course. This has a real classical feel to it, while still offering an engaging and easy way to take in some pretty important racing events.

One important factor about this racecourse is the fact that it’s using Polytack, different to the typical turf found in most racecourses in the UK. As one of just six all-weather courses in the UK, then, Lingfield stands out as one of its own. With flat racing that takes place on the turf in the summer, National Hunt races take place on the same location.

Having been open since 1890, this is quite a big part of racing history. It was opened by the then-Prince of Wales, with jump racing the primary enjoyment to begin with. This soon changed, and today it’s known as one of the best flat racing tracks in the country.

It’s been through a lot of renovations, from a gold course in the late-80s to the late 2004 grandstand improvement. The most important racing event to take place here, though, tends to be seen as the Matsunosuke race: it became the highest rated horse to win on an all-weather surface.

The horse itself was dubbed the greatest horse for all-weather tournaments of all-time, so it’s quite a feat for the racecourse to see a record owned by this incredible creature. It holds races from February to September, with a fine variety from the Cleves Stakes to the Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes.

Sunday 3 September 2017

3.35 Hamilton, Tuesday, September 5

In the Visit the All New Racing Handicap (3.35) at Hamilton on Tuesday, Reckless Serenade hasn’t shown much in four starts this season, including over course and distance, but has recorded both wins over the minimum trip at the South Lanarkshire track and is becoming well handicapped. Indeed, the Bushranger filly is just 2lb higher in the weights than when winning a 0-75 nursery handicap, over 5 furlongs, last September, so should be competitive in this lower grade, from a handicapping perspective, at least. Keith Dalgleish’s three-year-old has shown her best form on good to soft, or softer, going but, with outbreaks of rain forecast for Strathclyde on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, she could well have her ideal conditions. Reckless Serenade returns from a three-month break and has to prove, conclusively, that she’s as effective over 6 furlongs as over shorter, but she could go well at a decent price in a run-of-the-mill affair.

Selection: Hamilton 3.35 Reckless Serenade to win

Thursday 24 August 2017

1.55 York, Friday, August 25

In the opening Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap (1.55) at York on Friday, Mukhayyam failed in his hat-trick bid when only fifth of 10, beaten 1¾ lengths, in the Shergar Cup Challenge at Ascot two weeks ago but, faced with a less rigorous test of stamina, may be able to resume winning ways. A course and distance winner in May, the Dark Angel gelding followed up in good style at Ripon eight days later and, although 6lb higher in the weights here, his Ascot run suggested that he remains feasibly weighted. Reunited with winning jockey David Allan, it would be no surprise to see him lead this field a merry dance and, at 16/1 with Ladbrokes, his price is just too generous to resist.

Selection: Mukhayyam to win

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Yarmouth Races

I enjoyed a day at the races last week. We do tend to go to Yarmouth race track from time to time, as it's not so far away from us, and of course there's the casino nearby too (and of course the beach too!).

Funnily enough I didn't even have a bet at the track this time around. I did get to witness the impressive performance by 2 year old Mandarin Princess in the 13:40 though (27th June) and the delight of Charlie McBride directly after. Only of course though, there was a mix up and it was actually his other horse Millie’s Kiss that won the race. What a rare sporting mess up to witness in person. There's a William Hill bookie on course and credit to them they decided to pay out to those who bet on the odds on favourite - which came second (and was really the rightful winner, even though the result stands). I'm sure a lot of people will have binned their ticket by the time this error as discussed though, so a gutting day for some.

The above picture was taken by myself as I stood near the parade ring. Someone had scrawled 'fidling twats' on there. Juvenile I know but I couldn't help but smile. All in a day at the races!

Tuesday 21 March 2017

4.00 Wolverhampton, Thursday, March 23

In the Handicap (4.00) at Wolverhampton on Thursday, Lord Cooper is unbeaten over 6 furlongs on the all-weather – including over course and distance – since being gelded in November and looks to have been found another decent opportunity. The son of Sir Percy steps up in grade off a 3lb higher mark than when edging out Jet Setter over course and distance last month and, while the placed horses on that occasion have done little to advertise the form, he is clearly going the right way. He’s already been raised 15lb since December, but may be progressive enough to complete a hat-trick. Jockey Renato Souza is 4-16 for the yard on the all-weather in recent seasons.

Selection: Wolverhampton 4.00 Lord Cooper to win

Tuesday 28 February 2017

4.00 Musselburgh, Wednesday, March 1

Spiculas, an 8-year-old gelding by top-class jumps sire Beneficial, made a highly promising debut for Malcolm Jefferson at Sedgefield in December and may have suffered the dreaded ‘bounce’ when only fourth of 10, beaten 28 lengths, over the same course and distance last month. Twice a winner for previous trainer Keith Reveley, Spiculas had been off the course for over two years prior to his debut effort, where he was only caught close home after taking a three-length lead jumping the last. He’s been raised 4lb but, having been restricted to just eight career starts, could be open to further improvement even at this late stage and doesn’t look overburdened in any case. He looks the one to be on in the Totepool Betting at Handicap Hurdle (4.00) at Musselburgh on Wednesday.

Selection: Musselburgh 4.00 Spiculas to win

Tuesday 21 February 2017

‘Pastoral’ Patent, Wednesday, February 22

In the 4.10 at Ludlow on Wednesday, Canadian Diamond has been in rude health on the all-weather in recent months, completing a hat-trick at Kempton three weeks ago and may be able to keep up the good work back over hurdles. Richard Rowe’s 10-year-old ran respectably, off today’s mark, on his last two starts in this sphere and, with proven fitness, may be able to find further improvement.

In the 4.45 at Ludlow, Mendip Express won his first two starts for Philip Hobbs before running creditably in defeat in all three major hunter chases last spring and sets a high standard. The King’s Theatre gelding acts on any going and goes well fresh, so cannot sensibly be opposed.

In the 5.20 at Ludlow, Theatrebar won convincingly on his debut for Harry Skelton at Sedgefield in November and, although failing to cope with the step up to Class 2 company at Uttoxeter last month, performed creditably off his revised mark. He drops back down in class and, having won over course and distance in the past, must have every chance of making it 2-3 for his new yard.

Selections: Ludlow 4.10 Canadian Diamond, Ludlow 4.45 Mendip Express, Ludlow 5.20 Theatrebar, 1-point Win Patent

Tuesday 17 January 2017

2.55 Newbury, Wednesday, January 18

In the 2.55 at Newbury on Wednesday, former pointer Potters Corner has made a solid, if unspectacular, start to his career over regulation fences and, with Davy Russell coming for the ride, can be fancied to open his account in this sphere. His most recent fourth of nine, beaten 7¾ lengths, behind Beware The Bear at Ascot in November has been franked by the winner and the runner-up, Singlefarmpayment, so the form looks strong. The Indian Danehill gelding has been fairly lightly raced for a seven-year-old and retains plenty of scope for improvement over the larger obstacles. His most recent win came on the prevailing soft going, but he’d previously won twice on good going so she should run his race whatever the weather in the South East.

Selection: Newbury 2.55 Potters Corner to win