Ascot takes centre stage in the Jumps world with the Grade One 2m1f SBK Clarence House Chase the main dish of the day. The build-up has been all about the clash of Shishkin and Euergumene and it is going to happen. Hats off to connections for running as so often these days we only see clashes like this at Cheltenham. I am of course already on Shishkin at 7-4 for the G.1 Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival in March and as he is unbackable at the prices today I will simply be watching, hopefully him winning hard held, and having a smug look on my face after as he goes odds-on for Cheltenham. It says a lot about the quality of the two at the top of the market when last year's winner First Flow is double figure odds and 150+ rated Amoola Gold 100-1! There is also plenty of Graded action at Haydock but the two I would want to back are, unsurprisingly in truth, odds-on so I will be leaving those races alone.
Best bets for the horse racing Saturday 22nd January at Lingfield Park
I talked earlier this week about the Winter Million Festival taking place at Lingfield Park and day two, Saturday, is all about the All-Weather and it’s Coral Winter Oaks Day! The card has attracted plenty of runners and, I think, is quite tricky for us punters, but there are a three to be backed and that is where I am concentrating on Saturday.
The opener is the 12.45 the Read Katie Walsh On Betway Insider Handicap over 1m2f. I noted Sean Levey mentioned Dingle when asked at Newcastle on Thursday afternoon if he was riding at Lingfield on Saturday. He seemed quite taken with the four-year-old. He has obviously had a number of niggles but the jockey seems to think a big run can be expected. His one career win came at Kempton in 2020 as a two-year-old off a mark of 82 and he has only been seen four times since. In fairness his two runs last season were in handicaps won by Path Of Thunder and Qaader both now rated 100+ so he has been in with some good ones. If Richard Hannon has him fit and well the gelding might have a big run in him at a nice looking 6-1. Marions Boy arrives off the back of a hat-trick over C&D with wins in October, November and December and is an obvious danger.
The second race I am involved with is the 1.55 one-mile Mansionbet Proud Partners Of The Awc Handicap. Mobashr is a lightly raced four-year-old who clearly has some talent. He is two from two over track and trip including when winning here in December when last seen off a mark of 87 with probably more in the tank. The gelding has gone up 3lb for that win but the third franked the form winning next time and you would think there is more to come from him yet. The yard of Marco Botti has been amongst the winners this month, Ryan Moore gets the leg-up and he is the pick at 9-4.
The race of the day the Coral Winter Oaks Fillies' Handicap over 1m2f is off at 3.40. Fourteen are due to line-up and there are a few in with chances. Viola generally goes well round here, two wins and two placed efforts in four runs, so has to be respected but she has generally been running over a mile-and-a-half and is now on a career high mark. Virgin Snow is pretty consistent but doesn’t win many and has to give them all weight here, another good effort in defeat looks likely. Pretty Sweet is even more consistent than Virgin Snow and looks sure to be in the mix. She won nicely last time at Kempton over 1m3f. Umm Hurair chalked-up a quick hat-trick at Wolverhampton last month, all over a 1m½f with Serenading second to her in the third of those runs. She is clearly in good heart but has duly gone from a mark of 67 to 90 today. It looks like there is more to come from her yet in the style of those three wins but, she didn’t seem to get home over the 1m1½f at Dunstall Park when tried over that trip in November. Miss Marble was tried at Listed level last time in France over 7f at Deauville on their Polytrack. She made the running but was a sitting duck for the closers late on. The winner that day Pennybaker looks a fair type and second Pevensey Bay is out in Dubai at the Carnival and won the G.2 Cape Verdi last Friday so it looks like it was a warm Listed heat! She had won easily at Chelmsford and Kempton before that over a mile but this will be a first try over this far. On breeding there is a concern if she will see out the trip but if she does get the ten-furlongs she might be the class-act in the field. I have taken the 11-1.Be lucky