Best bets for the horse racing Friday 5th January 2018

The weather continues to take its toll on the horse racing with the Jumps cards at Lingfield and Wetherby abandoned. They do go on the Fibresand at Southwell and on the Polytrack at Kempton this evening and those are the cards I am concentrating on.

They start at Southwell with the Handicap at 12.55. Optimickstickhill was tried over a mile here last time and never looked liked staying; was being ridden three out and faded right out of it in the final furlong. Prior to that the grey 3yo filly went well enough here over the six furlongs to suggest that this four furlongs 214 yards might just suit perfectly. It is well known that the course favours prominent horses and she likes to lead plus the surface makes any trip a good stamina test so the drop in trip looks ideal. I would expect to see Kieran O’Neil lead from the up on this Scott Dixon inmate and hopefully she will show them all a clean pair of heels. I have taken a chance at a very tasty looking 16-1.

Later on the card at 3.10 fourteen are due to line-up for the Betway Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap over the six furlongs. At the top of the weights, 8yo chestnut gelding Declamation is looking for a quick course and distance double carrying the 6lb penalty having won here 7days ago. He did it pretty comfortably that day having finished second over the same track and trip the time before making his form figures over course and distance: 2, 1 – note that’s the two runs he has had for his new yard of John Butler. Clearly his new surroundings suit, his new trainer has sussed out he likes Fibresand and with Robert Winston riding again I am on at the early 8-11.

Much later at 8.15 this evening Kempton hosts the 32Red Handicap over six furlongs. The lightly-raced Sparkalot is an interesting runner with only four runs under his belt, three of them over track and trip, winning twice. The draw might have been kinder but he is open to plenty of improvement off the back of a 205 day break, the Simon Dow yard has been in fine fettle and Luke Morris rides here more than anyone so should know what to do. At 5-1 he is a worthwhile punt.

Be lucky