It’s your last chance for a bet before Christmas and to nick a couple of bob to pay for those last minute presents with no racing until Boxing Day after this Saturday.
So far I am two winners from four bets this week so the Christmas kitty is topping up nicely and hopefully, I have three more winners in waiting here for Saturday to add to the festive funds.
It’s a midday start at Lingfield for their seven-race card. At 2.15 down in Surrey they line-up for the Listed 1m2f Quebec Stakes. Wissahickon will likely be odds-on and if he has improved again should win, he certainly has potential. That said he might be vulnerable on his first run at this level. Big Country went well over track and trip when second in the Listed Churchill Stakes last time and duly has to give them all a few pounds here now. Scarlet Dragon was fourth in that race and was second in a conditions heat here earlier this month – Toast Of New York third. The 5yo hasn’t won since his 3yo campaign though and that is a concern. The one that catches my eye is Mango Tango who won the Conditions Stakes mentioned above on her first run for Archie Watson. She came here from Qatar where she had been in the care of Ibrahim Al Malki, who had taken over the mare from Pascal Bary who was her original trainer when she raced in France. She has been in with better company than this in her globetrotting career and Watson might have one to go to work with over the winter in this one. The mare is around 8-1 early which is a fair price as if the jolly falters she could pick-up the pieces.
At 2.50 it’s the 1m4f Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap. Dual coder Redicean gets in off bottom weight here with a flat mark of 89 – the G.2 Hurdle winner is currently rated 144 over the sticks, has been as high as 149. He won over this trip earlier this month on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton and the 4yo must have a chance in this. He beat well fancied Maybe Today that day with the rest over three lengths behind giving the form a solid look. At the early 13-8 that is generally available, he is worth a punt to follow up.
I am having an interest over obstacles at Ascot where trainer Jedd O’Keeffe is hoping to see Sam Spinner show last season’s sparkle in the Grade One JLT Hurdle over three-mile due off at 2.25. He, of course, won the race registered as the Long Walk Hurdle 12 months ago. Subsequently sent off favourite at Cheltenham for the Stayers (was my tip) and then Aintree he was beaten but not disgraced in both. He looked below par on his return in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month and was beaten before being hampered and unseating; that they may simply have been a bit of ring-rust. “He seems great, he came out of Newbury well,” said O’Keeffe earlier this week. “I can’t say we weren’t a bit disappointed, not because he got beaten, not that he needed the race – he just lacked a bit of sparkle on the day. I don’t know if that was because he hadn’t raced for a while. He seems great now, and we’re happy with him, so we are going to go there and have a go.” The soft going is ideal, he is still the highest rated horse in the race and if back to his best would win. Cheek pieces go on for the first time and I am prepared to take a chance and took what might later look a very generous 15-2. I have been keeping an eye on Call Me Lord, had plenty of entries recently and here he is; if improving again he is an obvious danger. Unowhatimeanharry lifted the prize in 2016 but was only third behind Jedd O’Keeffe’s charge 12 months ago.