There had been a doubt about the meeting at Cheltenham going ahead this weekend all week and with that in mind, and the fact more rain and sleet was forecast meant at best it was going to be run on bottomless ground, I decided a couple of days ago to leave the meeting alone. As it turns out it is abandoned. Elsewhere, the meetings at Fontwell and Uttoxeter on Sunday have both been called off due to waterlogging with meetings next week at Lingfield (Jumps card) and Leicester also off with the tracks waterlogged. It is wetter than an Otters pocket out there! Up at Doncaster they will race and Shishkin goes in the Grade Two Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Lightning Novices' Chase at 1.30 and is long odds-on as you would expect. Hopefully be a nice warm-up for the Festival where I fancy him strongly – see Cheltenham Festival page. I can’t strongly fancy anything else on the card so I am once again all about the All-Weather this weekend.
Best bets for the horse racing at Lingfield Park
It is another early start at Lingfield with post time for the first midday. The first race of interest to me is the 1.45 the 7f Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Handicap. Mutahamisa was perhaps a little unlucky last time, managed to get stuck behind a wall of horses, but has crept up another 3lb in the weights for getting beat. Cameron Noble does take that off but she may be up against it here off top-weight. Bint Al Anood likes to be at the pointed end from the off and as such is ideally drawn in one. She won quite nicely last time at Kempton suggesting the 1lb rise in the ratings shouldn’t trouble her. Rab Havlin rides again and he arguably knows this track better than anyone. John Gosden has his string in fine fettle and I fancy her to hold off any late challenges and win this. Grab the 11-4.
The 2.40 is the 6f Play 4 To Win At Betway Handicap. Power Over Me has taken to life this side of the Irish Sea well winning all three starts since moving yards, the last two here over track and trip. He is of course creeping up the weights but you had to be impressed how he came home the last twice and I expect to see Kieran O'Neill launching him late down the hoe straight again in this. The race should be run to suit and, though short enough at 6-4, the four-year-old is fancied to collect a C&D hat-trick.
They face 1m4 for the 2.55 the Betway Handicap. Pirate King will be short and might be worth taking on off top-weight with a mark of 96, despite a good C&D record, as the six-year-old has never won off a mark higher than 87 so in theory needs to have improved 9lb which is unlikely at his age. Renardeau has been running well enough without winning, and paid the price a little with the handicapper for his consistency, but is now down to a mark of 79, his last winning mark, that win coming over track and trip back in March 2020. A chance is taken with the five-year-old at 5-1 to hopefully gain a well-deserved victory.
The lucky last at 4.05 is the mile Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Handicap. Night Force looks odds-on to lead and was perhaps a little unlucky to get swamped by pursuers in the final furlong last time as the petrol run out. Christian Howarth takes 7lb off in this and that might be enough for the grey colt to hold on here. It is a bit of a gamble putting the claimer up but they might be able to slip this field with no others likely to want to go forward. I am taking a chance at the 6-1 and expect to be doing the 'betting shop lean' in the final strides - hold on!Be lucky