With the awful weather claiming numerous meetings across the country, the Channel 4 cameras take refuge at Lingfield and Newcastle for some winter racing. With the ground set to be atrocious at Newcastle I’ve concentrated my tipping on the competitive all-weather racing on offer at Lingfield!
The first race covered by Channel 4 from Lingfield is at 2.00 with a sprint handicap. Joyous (3/1 Betfred) will probably start favourite here having just failed in a similar contest last time. Dean Ivory's daughter of Assertive is unexposed and looks to be going the right way, and with a better draw to work could break her duck. Presumido (5/1 Ladbrokes) came good at the seventh time of asking over C&D on his latest start. He had been knocking on the door on the Polytrack at Wolverhampton and Kempton, and now with the added confidence of having got his head in front, he may prove up to defying his rise in the weights. Parisian Pyramid (6/1 BetVictor), once rated 99, is a long way down the weights but showed he is still well capable at Wolverhampton last time. A switch to Richard Fahey may have rekindled the spark and he is dangerously well handicapped despite his advancing years. Spellmaker (8/1 Stan James) found a weak race at Kempton last time and is a previous C&D winner. He is on a career high mark and has a wide draw to overcome; but, he is still lightly raced enough to potentially improvement further. As tempted as I am by Joyous, I'm going to put up TWO IN THE PINK (8/1 Ladbrokes) at a big price. If her rider's claim is taken into account then she is 11lbs better off with Joyous for a 3 1/2 length beating last time out. Daniel Cremin has proved adept at tricky tracks in his burgeoning career having ridden winners at Brighton, Goodwood, as well as on the Polytrack at Lingfield. At the prices, Two In The Pink looks a spot of each way value.
The 2.35 is a classy looking handicap with top weight Energia Eros (12/1 BetVictor) having finished runner up in a pair of Group 1 races in Chile and Brazil last spring. It is impossible to gauge what those efforts amount to in terms of quality and a mark of 112 does look tough. However, he is unexposed and the market should offer the best clues as to his expectations on his first start for Marco Botti. Botti also runs Halfsin (18/1 Stan James) who stole a race from the front at Kempton last month and Grendisar (9/1 Stan James) who was a short head behind MODERNSTONE (5/1 Betfred) here a fortnight ago. Modernstone is the pick as she is far more unexposed than the majority of her rivals. Grendisar got first run on her last time out having travelled really well and although a pound better in the weights I believe Modernstone can improve past him. A bigger threat may come from the David Simcock trained Castilo Del Diablo (11/2 Coral) who has threatened on more than one occasion to win similarly competitive handicaps and as such should be in the hunt again.
Another sprint handicap at 3.10 with Perfect Pasture (7/2 Coral) looking to extend his winning sequence in the headgear. He is a perfect 5/5 in a visor and despite continuing to edge up the weights, he keeps getting his head in front. His win at Kempton last time out was a career best, and despite being made to dig deep by the runner up he finally got on top close home. He has been given a short break to freshen him up after those exertions and looks capable of further improvement for a shrewd stable. Noble Deed (17/2 Stan James) hasn’t done as much winning as Perfect Pasture but has been performing admirably all the same. He should prove better suited to the drop back to 6f here and is lightly enough raced to be capable of defying this mark. Rivellino (3/1 Betfred) ran riot at Wolverhampton last time, clearing right away from his field late on. This is trickier and he has been beaten plenty of times off lesser marks than this in the past so will need further improvement. A token vote at a massive price goes to ELUSIVITY (28/1 BetVictor) who is starting to look well handicapped. Now 10lbs lower than when finishing 7th in last years Wokingham at Royal Ascot, this former Group placed sprinter may benefit from the move to a smaller yard. Peter Crate has done well with a small team, especially sprinters and if he can rekindle the old spark Elusivity could be well in.
We finish at 3.45 where standing dish, Scottish Glen (4/1 Betfred), will be looking to add to his course record. He is now eight years old and has a career high mark to contend with but given his record of six wins in eight handicaps here, including a perfect 3/3 over C&D, he must be one to consider. Another course specialist comes in the form of The Great Gabriel (8/1 Ladbrokes) who is a perfect three from three at Lingfield. In a similar vein to Scottish Glen he has a career high mark to overcome but given his record on the Polytrack he must be entitled to maximum respect. Canadian Run (6/1 Stan James) dotted up in a weaker C&D handicap in September but he looks to have a little to find with the Ed Dunlop trained Naaz (5/1 Coral) on their Sandown run earlier that month. Fifth on his latest start but only beaten a length in total, Naaz will need a good pace to run at given his style, if getting it none will be coming home stronger. Soaring Spirits (11/1 Coral) has a strong chance as well as he finds himself better off at the weights with Scottish Glen on their running last time out. The concern with him is that there are a number of narrow defeats on his card and could find one too strong again. That one may well be the top one, INDIAN JACK (17/2 BetVictor), a horse who has never reached his full potential. He ran a cracker on his first outing for 13 months at Lingfield at the end of October and may have found the run coming too soon when below par at Kempton last time. He has shown strong form on the Polytrack in the past having beaten subsequent Group 1 winner Hunters Light at Kempton in the dim and distant past. The comeback run shows his ability remains and this would be easier than most of his assignments in recent years.
2.00 Lingfield – TWO IN THE PINK (E/W) (8/1 Ladbrokes)
2.35 Lingfield – MODERNSTONE (WIN) (5/1 Betfred)
3.10 Lingfield – ELUSIVITY (E/W) (28/1 BetVictor)
3.45 Lingfield – INDIAN JACK (WIN) (17/2 BetVictor)
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