Good morning all,
It could be something of a wasted journey down South as Lingfield has called an early inspection at 8am this morning. I've already prepared myself for the inevitable second inspection (my guess, 9,30) and thankfully I'm only about 40 miles from the course, so can leave it fairly late to set off. Fingers crossed it's on, otherwise it's day of sand racing.
I'm hoping it goes ahead as I've discovered a couple of friends are going too, so a good chance to have a catch up.
Today, a quick word on ITV Racing and a couple of races at Lingfield looked at.
It seems the knives are out for ITV racing (on Twitter, anyway) after just the one outing, but that's hardly surprising as Twitter could take exception to a picture of a basket of fluffy kittens these days. I taped it (do you still tape things these days?) and watched it back the next day, and whilst I can see it might not appeal to the purists amongst us (despite that great Jonjo piece) we must remember that's not the aim here. Racing is now going to be on a terrestrial channel and getting a bigger audience will be the key to it's success.
It would seem that the viewing figures are up, which is a good start, and I'm certainly not going to judge the presenters after one programme. Safe to say though, that whatever Matt Chapman does, I'm never going to be his biggest fan…..
To today's racing. I was desperately trying to get Triple Chief beaten in the 1.50 as he simply doesn't win enough races (1-24) to be considered at 6-4, even in such a weak race as this. There's a case to be made for Clonusker purely on handicapping grounds – the one race Triple Chief won he beat Clonusker two lengths, and at the weights today there's little between them. But that was over hurdles, and this is Clonusker's debut over fences. They've left it late to go chasing with him (he's 9 now) and he's hardly bred for fences, so I'd be happy to swerve him.
Instead, I've latched on to Brother Bennett, formerly with Jim Best but now in the car of Zoe Davidson. Drinks at the bar are few and far between for the yard – just 10 winners over the past five seasons – but Brother Bennett would appear to hold a good chance of adding to that. He was far from disgraced on his chasing debut over C&D at the beginning of December, getting beaten ten lengths, and that was in a much better race than this (a 0-120, in fact). This is almost a step down the grading ladder and he appears to be finding a bit of form for his new yard. I'd have him almost favourite for this and is the selection today.
It's quite a tough contest to be launched back into, but if Flintham is fir enough to do himself justice he could go quite close in the Novice Chase at 2.50. I really like Flintham, despite a rather in-and-out profile as he can be very difficult to pass on a going day and really should make a better chaser than hurdler (is a full brother to that more-than-useful chaser Carruthers). This trip will be an absolute minimum for him and it might be a case of watching rather than betting, but it'll be a contest we should learn a bit from. As long as it goes ahead, of course….
Good luck with all your bets today,