The weather continues to play havoc with turf racing but todday’s all-weather cards at Lingfield and Chelmsford have also foul to the elements and there is little sign of any let up over the weekend with Doncaster and Newbury having already abandoned their feature cards.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse thankfully reports no problems with the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival with the weather expected to improve from Monday.
In betting news, I can report plenty of support for Gordon Elliot’s De Potting Shed (6/1 from 9/1 with BetVictor) in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase and it would appear I am not alone in backing Coo Star Sivola (10s from 14s with BetVictor) for the Ultima Handicap Chase on the opening day.
There is a Jumpers Bumper card at Southwell this afternoon and in the opener I am going to take a chance on Phil Kirby’s Shine Baby Shine (1.45) who showed she acts on today’s fibresand surface when scoring here on the level – albeit from a lowly mark – back in August. Her ability to handle underfoot conditions might be the key.
Donald McCain’s Man Look (3.20) won at Bangor over timber back in October and had some useful flat form at up to a mile-and-a-half. His ability to handle underfoot conditions must be taken on trust but he gets the narrow vote.
The McCain yard can double up with Fin And Game (4.25) who is unbeaten in two starts over timber and whose ability to handle soft and heavy ground on turf should be an asset on today’s deep surface.