Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
Wednesday’s jumps action is at the mercy of the weather with plenty of rain forecast and both Ayr and Leicester (inspection 7.45am) already pretty sodden, so I’m turning to the all-weather fare at Newcastle for today’s betting fix.
ORIENTAL LILLY rates nap material in the 5f handicap having run well over track and trip the last twice. The Jim Goldie-trained filly was gaining a long overdue breakthrough win here 27 days ago having hit the crossbar a couple of times on turf and then finishing a respectable third on her all-weather debut in November. In coming through from last to first to beat a useful yardstick in Twizzell in comfortable fashion, she confirmed her liking for the Tapeta surface and while she’s been raised 5lb since, she has the scope to rate higher than her current mark of 66 and also benefits from Phil Denis’ 3lb claim. The clincher for a bet is the stable form with her trainer sending out a winner and four seconds from just six runners in the last fortnight.
Her main market rival Windforpower is chasing a hat-trick, having won his last two over course and distance, but he’s up 5lb and this is a better race than he’s used to. Of the rest, Fast Track will most likely try to lead as that how he likes to race, but he’s been found wanting at the business end in recent starts and the stiffer nature of the finish here won’t help him in that respect.
Lucky Lodge has been put in as favourite for the closing 6f handicap having bounced back to winning form over 7f at Wolverhampton last time off the same mark as today’s. However, the winning time was slow resulting in a bunched finish and he could prove vulnerable now stepping back in class, especially given his in-and-out profile.
I’m inclined to take him on at the odds and with the next in the betting Star Cracker also up in class after finishing third over track and trip (behind Windforpower) last time, a chance is taken on three-time course winner POPPY IN THE WIND. Alan Brown’s mare can break tardily but she’s running well and was beaten less than a length into third in another class 5 handicap at Wolverhampton 18 days ago. Slowly away and towards the back early on, she had to be switched wide around the traffic turning in before finishing well to dead-heat for minor honours and the return to this straight 5f with its relatively stiff finish should see her in an even better light.
All odds were correct at time of posting.