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Weather permitting, the two big meetings at Haydock and Newbury should go ahead and only mudlarks should apply to win races this afternoon.
The Mandarin Chase (Newbury 2.25) is always a well-contested affair and KNOCKANRAWLEY (nap) can supplement last year’s win off a 3lbs higher mark on ground he simply adores.
Laid out for this race for the past 12 months, the still lightly raced nine-year-old was given a nice pipe-opener for his defence when a staying on second at Ayr, beaten a short head by Catamaran de Seuil.
That run should have taken the freshness out of him and the son of Portrait Gallery looks primed to strike again over a course and distance that obviously suits.
However, the best-value wager of the day comes on the all-weather at Lingfield where the old boy SOARING SPIRITS (nb) can finally enter the winner’s enclosure again following a 20-month absence.
That success at Leicester last summer came off a rating of 65, he has raced off as high as 75 in between, and he now gets the chance to run off 55 with the aid of Robert Winston up top.
Of his rivals, Brothers In Arms has an awful draw in box 13, but beaten favourite last time out D’Waterside is quite interesting, coming back in trip from an extended mile to a bare seven furlongs here.
Newbury’s feature race is the Challow Hurdle at 3.00 which is going to be a real slugfest for these young horses and that should suit WAY BACK THEN to a tee.
Ben Pauling’s charge has been given plenty of time to mature and strengthen and this former point-to-pointer is sure to relish this stamina-sapping test around the galloping Berkshire track.
He could get the better of the likes of the hat-trick-seeking Mulcahys Hill and the lightly raced Poetic Rhythm.
At Haydock the feature Last Fling Handicap Chase at 2.10 can go to CROSSPARK who will relish the return to bottomless ground off a potentially playable mark of 136.
There is a cracking card on the all-weather at Lingfield Park this afternoon and the big sprint handicap could well go to the top weight RECKLESS ENDEAVOUR at 12.00.
This will be his Lingfield debut, but he has won on a similar surface at Dundalk and this fast-run six furlongs with plenty of pace in the field should see him outstay his rivals on the run down the home stretch.
The underrated Kasbah could be the biggest danger to the selection if jockey Jack Mitchell can get a tune out of him after a luckless run last time out.
Later on at the Surrey track, RUNAIOCHT can finally notch another win on his career board by landing the 1.45. The last time he visited the winner’s enclosure was at Wolverhampton in February off an 11lbs higher rating.
Finally, have a second look at the exceedingly well-weighted BARYE in the mile-and-a-half handicap due off at 2.55.
The Richard Hughes charge has not shown his best form for a long time, but to be fair has been set some pretty tough tasks in better-class handicaps than this.
Now a full 13lbs below his last winning mark, the key to his chance is a fast pace which looks assured here and the six-year-old is taken to outstay all of his rivals in the closing stages with Shane Kelly back on board.
Knockanrawley — Newbury 2.25 (nap)
Soaring Spirits — Lingfield 12.35 (nb)
Brex Drago – Lingfield 1.45 (nap)
Noble Deed – Lingfield 2.50
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