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Today’s Racing News: Final four see out a spectacular year of racing

For the final time in 2021 our man Daryl Carter has searched high and low for all today’s news, stats, info and angle for today’s racing.

Happy New Year to all! It’s the final day of 2021, and to see out the year, we have four meetings in the UK and Ireland. Today’s racing comes from Warwick, Uttoxeter, Lingfield and Punchestown.

Money Talk

Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.

13:50 Lingfield – Sir Oliver 15/2 into 11/2
14:25 Lingfield – Allarmista 7/2 into 9/4
14:37 Uttoxeter – Graces Order 9/1 into 7/1

The morning market drifters !

Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?

13:15 Lingfield – Fox Duty Free 7/4 OUT 2/1

Mark your card

The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!

In the 13:05 Poundland – Where Great Prices Rule Handicap Hurdle at Warwick, the highly progresssive In Rem 3.02/1 bids for a fourth straight victory for trainer Jane Williams and she boasts a 44% strike rate here over hurdles.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has a 38% strike rate at Warwick and sends just one runner there today in the 13:40 Poundland – Your Land Of Amazing Value Handicap Chase. Neil The Legend 5.04/1 is Nico de Boinville’s only ride of the day.

At Warwick in the 14:15 The Land That Gives You More Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase, trainer Gary Hanmer saddles three-time course winner High Counsel 10.09/1, and he will look to boost his excellent 50% strike rate over fences.

In the opening contest at Uttoxeter, the 12:22 Cazoo Maiden Hurdle, Jazz King 1.910/11 is your odds-on favourite, yet trainer Sam Thomas has had just one winner from 19 runners at Warwick. It could pay to look elsewhere, perhaps Donald McCain’s recent eye-catcher Tim Pat 9.08/1.

In the 15:40 Cazoo EBF Mares’ Open Maiden National Hunt Flat Race at Uttoxeter, trainer Phillip Hobbs has a bumper strike rate of 24% Fancy Your Chances 1.910/11, and Warren Greatrex has a 37% strike rate Missed Vacation 8.07/1.

At Punchestown, trainers Eddie and Patrick Harty have sent five runners to this venue over hurdles and scored with two (40%). Today they send Wild Dollar 8.515/2 in the 12:45.

Horses for courses

This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks and could be in with a chance today.

12:10 Lingfield – C’Est No Mour – Has won here twice times (67%)
13:15 Lingfield – Fox Duty Free – Has won here three times (75%)
13:40 Warwick – Hamilton Dici – Has won here twice (100%)
14:15 Warwick – High Counsel – Has won here three times (50%)

Weighted to go well

“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.

11:35 Lingfield – Alphonse Le Grande – Has won off 67 runs off 53
13:40 Warwick – Allardyce – Has won off 116 runs off 96
14:45 Warwick – Atlantic Storm – Has won off 111 runs off 100
14:45 Warwick – Little Light – Has won off 117 runs off 98
15:25 Lingfield – Real Estate – Has won off 73 runs off 57

Form Watch

This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.

Trainer Venetia Williams is operating at a 35% strike rate in the last 14 days. She has two fancied runners and will look for a quick-fire across the card double to round out the year today. Grand Turina 2.47/5 in the 14:15 at Warwick and Chambard 3.55/2 in the 14:37 at Uttoxeter.

The Williams double pays 7.06/1

Furthest traveller

Today’s furthest traveller is Mark Johnston with his runner Allarmista 4.57/2 in the 14:25 at Lingfield. He is no stranger to travelling far and wide, so it’s worth noting the second furthest traveller, which is also from Lingfield.

Trainer Adrian Paul Keatley sends Dash Of Spice 13.012/1 12:10 and Lockside Lass 14:25, a total of 247-miles to Lingfield today.

Race of the day

Today’s race comes from Uttoxeter, the 14:05 In Memory Of David Thomas Handicap Hurdle. The reason is that there is an interesting angle with one of the runners in this small field seven runner contest.

All seven come with some chance in a wide-open race and the unexposed horses are naturally to the fore in the betting market.

SBK15/4

EXC4.9

Trainer: Tom Lacey
Jockey: Stan Sheppard
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 5lbs
OR: 122

It could pay to look at Dorking Boy for Tom Lacey, who has a 20% strike rate at this venue with runners over hurdles. He ran a blinder in a highly competitive handicap hurdle at Ascot on his latest start when better than the bare result of beaten seven lengths.

He is now just one pound above his last winning mark, and that was a step back in the right direction, but the interesting angle is with the hood.

Connections took the hood off at Ascot in 2019 after he wore it for three runs and then re-applied it for his next start at Taunton, which resulted in a victory.

He then wore the hood right until November 2020 when they left it off for one run at Huntingdon before re-applying it at Doncaster on his next start, resulting in victory off of one pound lower than today.

The hood was left off at Ascot on his recent start and connections re-apply for today’s contest in an attempt to make it three for three with this angle. He has a 50% record on soft/ heavy ground, scoring in three of his six starts, and this is not the deepest Class 3 he has contested.

SBK5/2

EXC3.6

Trainer: Alastair Ralph
Jockey: Jay Tidball
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 11lbs
OR: 128

Tap Tap Boom is unexposed in Britain and shaped as though he would improve for the run at Hereford on the back of a 391-day break, and if he can build on that, he has every chance of going two better in today’s contest.

He needs to confirm his stamina for this trip, but he will be ridden prominently, and the heavy ground should hold no fears for his backers.

He is officially the highest rated in this field, and it’s unsurprising that money has come for him overnight. He is the apparent angle in this contest and should give his running.

SBK3/1

EXC3.95

Trainer: Oliver Signy
Jockey: Jack Andrews
Age: 5
Weight: 11st 6lbs
OR: 123

No Word Of A Lie makes his handicap debut off the back of a good victory in Novice company at Sedgefield, and he is open to plenty of improvement after just six career starts.

His opening handicap mark of 123 doesn’t look like a gift, but he bumped into a useful one at Exeter last term under similar conditions, and he has every right to be playing a strong hand in this contest today.

Big race verdict

Despite the presence of two unexposed horses in No Word Of A Lie and Tap Tap Boom on his day, DORKING BOY is a useful animal at this level, and the angle of the hood looks to be one missed by the market. He’s given the vote to outclass his rivals back in calmer waters.

Timeform off to Punchestown for three bets

Timeform’s Adam Houghton highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Punchestown on Friday.

What a way to bring in the New Year

Get the latest from our Betfair Ambassador’s Joseph O’Brien and Paul Nicholls, as they give all the clues to their runner’s chances on the first day of a brand new year.

Joseph O’Brien on his only runner on Saturday,

“…has been a great mare for us since going chasing last year, winning a Grade 3 and a Grade 2 as well as finishing in the frame in a few similar contests. We were happy with her comeback run at Clonmel where she finished a good second to Mount Ida.”

Paul Nicholls on his runners on New Years Day,

“This race has been his target for a while and it helps that he has been dropped a few pounds since he ran at Haydock 42 days ago.”

Play it cool this New Year’s Day

There’s plenty of racing to choose from on New Years Day, but the best bet comes from Musselburgh in the 15:25 Handicap Hurdle in which the Sandy Thomson trained Coolbane Boy will look to make amends for his fall here 63 days ago.

EXC1.24

Trainer: Sandy Thomson
Jockey: Ryan Mania
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 12lbs
OR: 120

The seven-year-old has some very strong Novice and Maiden Hurdle form from his time in Ireland, notably his only run over three miles in which he played a strong hand in the finish behind the useful Streets Of Doyen rated 139 when attempting to give him five pounds. The runner-up in that contest is rated 138, and if not for a faller hampering him at the final flight, he would have finished much closer than fourth.

He was cruising through the race here 63 days ago on handicap debut on his second start over 3m before a bad error saw him unable to recover, and he could be thrown in off this handicap mark of 120 in a very poor race.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Alnadam will surely go close in the 14:00 Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, now granted soft ground and his ideal trip. Four of the last five winners of this contest had not raced in either of the big handicaps at Cheltenham over the last few months, so fresh legs could be an angle in.

Smart move by Sophie Leech?

In the 14:35 Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, it might pay to throw a couple of quid at the outsider Cracking Smart 51.050/1.

SBK50/1

EXC28

Trainer: Sophie Leech
Jockey: C. M. Leonard
Age: 10
Weight: 11st 12lbs
OR: 145

This is a wildly obscure selection but this horse sports a visor AND cheek-piece combination, and the tongue-tie has been removed for the first time since 2017. He has had two spins in France over an inadequate two miles for his new handler Sophie Leech, and this is the weakest contest he has raced in for quite some time.

His only trip to this venue when based in Ireland with Gordon Elliot resulted in a fourth in the 2020 Coral Cup 2m5f off a mark of 153 when staying on strongly at the death. He races off a career-low handicap mark today of 140, including the jockey claim, and he is relatively unexposed over 3m after just six starts.

He is the same price as today as he was in last November’s Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace, so already that suggests he could prove a bit of value. In his last five starts prior to his two French runs, he has SP’d at odds of 72/1, 125/1, 80/1, 66/1 and 50/1. In three of those five starts, he bumped into the Pertemps Final winner, the Stayers Hurdle winner and the Champion Hurdle winner and this change of scenery could serve him well.

This is not the deepest contest on paper, and I’ve rolled the dice with worse 50/1 shots.

Final Word

With the new year comes time for reflection. We look back on things we could have done better, those stand out spectacular racing moments and then a glance into the new year with an optimistic outlook.

As an industry, we have had our fair share of drama, no doubt, and at times, it has felt like an episode of Coronation Street, but ultimately, the season as a whole and the horses on show have been nothing short of breathtaking.

Some of the racing stories this year have been sensational. Rachael Blackmore’s incredible achievements lifting racing single-handedly and slapping it on the big stage is just one of a few.

Everybody should have an optimistic outlook for the new year. It’s a chance to change, grow and improve.

For most of us tipsters, it’s squeaky bum time as those profits and losses rewind the clock back to zero from Saturday, and the dreaded negative numbers that are likely to start off January give nothing but anxiety and dread that somehow last season was a miracle – yes we all go through it.

It’s always good to remind yourself what you are thankful for at this time of year, and I am grateful that I get to write this column daily for the excellent Betfair.

Until next year, be lucky!

Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7

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