A quieter day for horse racing in the UK after the plethora of meetings post Christmas but there is a couple running that are well worth a look. They do have some big races out at Leopardstown in the Emerald Isle including the Grade One Ryanair Hurdle with Melon and Samcro facing-off but I am leaving the meeting alone.
Most of my interest is again on the All-Weather as they race on the Fibresand at Southwell with the card getting underway at 11.30 with the 1m 32Red Casino Nursery. Whenapoet has perhaps been a tadge unlucky thus far having racked up three third-place finishes and a second in nine runs. The frontrunner trained by Michael Appleby will surely hang on in one soon and this may be the one. Theodore Ladd will no doubt kick him straight to the front and on a surface that favours prominent horses, as it is very difficult to accelerate and make up ground, that's no bad tactic. Hopefully, he will show these a clean pair of heels and I am on at 9-2.
They go over 6f for the Betway Novice Median Auction Stakes at 12.35. A bunch of late maturing lightly raced 3yo's you always have to fear one winning with no form in a race like this. That said, and as if to prove the point, Amouri Gleam won on debut at 100-1 over six furlongs here having totally fluffed the start. The filly was well off the pace in the last pair before making significant headway running on to lead inside the final furlong and win going away. She would have learnt a lot from that and is fancied to follow-up at 9-4. Tum Tum would appear to be the danger.
Later in the afternoon Newbury has the Grade One 2m4f Betway Challow Novices' Hurdle at 3.00. Champ has a bit to live up to with a name such as that but it is a case of so far so good for the J P McManus owned 6yo. He has been steadily improving for Nicky Henderson and arrives off the back of a hat-trick, won over track and trip last time looking to love every yard. Short enough at 11-8 but I would not be laying 2-1! Fellow course and distance winner Kateson may give him most to think about.