Racing Daily with BetVictor – Jan 25

Two barren days without turf racing in Britain although temperatures were due to rise late on Thursday and Doncaster appeared optimistic, at the time of writing, that Friday’s card would get the green light.

Note a field of just 11 will go to post for the Sky Bet Chase on Town Moor tomorrow led by Alan King’s Dingo Dollar who is the 5/2 market leader with BetVictor. King saddled the winner in successive years in 2016-17 with Ziga Boy and his 7-year-old looks to have been laid out for this since his Newbury third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at the beginning of December.

In the Doncaster opener today’s better ground should suit Stage Summit who returned from a near two-month lay-off to run a good second at Fontwell earlier in the month and he can race from the same mark this afternoon.

The vote, however, goes to Ballasalla (12.50) who steps up in trip having been caught close home over the minimum trip at Catterick over Christmas. The selection is a full brother to Grand National winner Ballabriggs, so it is fair to say that today’s additional half-mile ought to see him in an even better light. Trainer Donald McCain fits his charge with cheek-pieces for the first time this afternoon and Brian Hughes keeps the mount.

There is a £30,000 Handicap Chase over two-miles and there is plenty of pace in the race with three confirmed front-runners. Softer ground was considered the optimum conditions for Beau Bay (1.55) before he landed a bit of a gamble when making all at Wetherby last time. He is one of the likely pace angles in the race, but he receives 21lbs from top-weight and class act Ozzie The Oscar another who is happiest trying to make all.

As long as the ground is genuinely good I am going to give Giving Glances (2.30) another chance in the listed juvenile hurdle. Alan King’s filly was an impressive winner at Hereford on debut – good ground – but got bogged down at Aintree when last seen at the beginning of December. I am convinced that was not her true running.

In the finale Modern Warfare is interesting on his handicap debut although he must show that he is as effective on today’s forecast good ground. The nod goes to Djin Conti (4.05) who ran a cracking race on ground considered softer than ideal at Catterick last time. He looks sure to go close from just a 1lb higher mark.

At Huntingdon Nicky Henderson’s mare Daphne Du Clos (1.00) was last seen beating Western Ryder in a listed Bumper at Newbury back in February 2017 and it must be significant that connections have persevered with her and not sent her straight to the paddocks. It will be disappointing if she cannot make a winning debut despite returning from over 700-days in the wilderness.

I hope there is more to come over fences from recent C&D winner Arthur’s Reuben (2.05) who is 6lbs higher than when scoring earlier in the month. David Noonan takes over in the saddle and I felt the 6-y-old would have run out a more comfortable winner had he not missed out a couple of fences on the back straight second time around.

Irish raider Magic Of Light is likely to be all the rage in the listed Mares Chase, but she had a hard race over 3m back over hurdles just last Saturday at Ascot when scoring from Jester Jet. She is equally adept over the larger obstacles but must give 4lbs to Casablanca Mix (2.40) and Happy Diva and I feel the prize will be kept on home soil.

Happy Diva was our each way selection when finishing third in a valuable handicap chase on the same Ascot card on Saturday when she tried valiantly to keep tabs on Cyrname. She, too, looked to have a tough race and the vote goes to the Henderson mare who has run two excellent races over today’s C&D and should find this a more suitable test to the one she faced at Cheltenham last time.

At Newcastle this evening the William Haggas-trained Sparkle In His Eye is likely to be a warm order for the opening Mile Maiden, having finished second to a previous winner on debut over this evening’s C&D earlier in the month.

The vote, however, goes to fellow Newmarket raider You Little Ripper (4.15) who ran well in a Newmarket maiden on debut (7f) and is bred to appreciate this stiff mile. The selection has been off the track for three months, but I would respect anything that Peter Chapple-Hyam sends north especially if the market speaks in his favour.

Alkaamel (6.15) is 6lbs higher than when landing some hefty bets at Kempton last time and it should be noted that the runner up (Spirit Warning) has since franked the form scoring fluently back at Kempton for Andrew Balding.

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