The weather continues to play havoc with turf racing but Friday’s Chelmsford all-weather card has also fallen 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 – from 9/1 – in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase and it would appear I am not alone in backing Coo Star Sivola, who is from 14s 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.


Shine Baby Shine 

Man Look 

Fin And Game 


Lingfield’s flat card must pass an 8am inspection but if racing goes ahead I hope to see Mitchum Swagger (4.10) make a winning debut for Ralph Beckett with Richard Kingscote in the plate. The selection holds an entry in the Lincoln later in the month and this sharp seven furlongs might be on the sharp side, but Take The Helm should ensure the race is run at a decent gallop and he gets a narrow vote in a decent contest.

Jazirat (4.45) has been a beaten favourite in his last two starts but has hinted that he might be able to defy an opening mark of 76 on his handicap debut for Charlie Appleby. The gelding had been off the track since July before last month’s comeback when beaten half a length by a previous winner.

It is interesting that Sportswriter (5.15) was made favourite for the race won by Petruchio at Wolverhampton last month but he was too green to do himself justice and has paid the ultimate price having been gelded in the interim period.

He is 7lbs better off with Petruchio this afternoon and he gets a narrow vote with Appleby applying first-time cheek pieces to his charge. The debutante Juneau has the pedigree to make a racehorse and if the market speaks in her favour, I suggest we take the hint.


Mitchum Swagger 



Odds are correct at the time of posting

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