THE racing at Sandown and the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown both appear to have survived the weather so we have a brilliant day in store.
ITV racing have managed to secure an agreement to show some of the race from Leopardstown as well as Sandown and Lingfield which is a real bonus for the casual terrestrial viewers.
I have quite a few bets that I fancy today so let's get straight into it.
This race is one to enjoy, not because it will be a competitive race but because arguably the best hurdler in Britain and Ireland lines up. BUVEUR D’AIR has won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival two years in a row and is favourite to win it again. His competitors today should be no match for him so there isn’t any value in having a bet on him just to win (currently best price 1-7).
The interesting angle I think is to have a bet on how far he will win by. The bet you want is for the winning distance to be up to and including 4.25 lengths. I think he will win narrowly rather than win by miles.
This isn’t his big day – that will come in March at the Festival – so he is likely to just cruise round and win but not be asked too many questions by Barry Geraghty.
He has won this race for the last two years doing just that and each time has won by less than two lengths so this seem like a stonking bet to me.
You also have the added bonus that if something goes wrong and he loses narrowly or indeed is a faller and something else wins narrowly you still get a winner because you are just betting on the winning distance not the winner of the race.
An ultra competitive handicap hurdle although quite a few of them are already fairly well-exposed to the handicapper.
I am taking a punt on a young horse who has a lot to find with some of the seasoned campaigners here but is worth a punt at a big price. FREE RANGER is the horse in question.
He is a lightly raced five year old and has been consistently hitting the frame in hurdles races to date. This is a big step up today but I'm hoping that his light weight will allow to him to cruise round and use his flat pedigree to good effect on the run in.
This a really good looking handicap hurdle on paper and there are two that I like at big prices. My first choice is a horse called FOLSOM BLUE who has actually twice been placed in an Irish Grand National.
This is a hurdles race today over less of a distance but he has a really good handicap mark compared to his chase mark and should go well with Richard Johnson on board.
My second choice is BRIO CONTI who is a bit more of an unknown quantity because he has been off the track for well over a year.
He could be very well handicapped because he is lightly raced and with Bryony Frost taking the ride today he could spring a surprise at a nice big price.
This could be a really competitive chase. The one that I think can win this is KAYF ADVENTURE ridden by the champ Richard Johnson.
The horse had been off for a while before his race in December and that might just have gotten him to peak fitness for today. He is one of the few in this field who has potential improvement in him I think.
Another one that I like is HOUBLON DES OBEAUX who looked like he was back to something like his best last time out at the ripe old age of 12. I think I will have a small each way bet on him just in case he can repeat the feat again today.
He has had a fair hike in the weights but his conditional jockey today Harry Nugent takes 7lb off to offset some of that extra weight.
12:00 Pontefract - Race: 1
12:10 Windsor - Race: 1
12:20 Hexham - Race: 1