There is plenty of racing action scheduled across Britain and Ireland on Friday, though the freezing temperatures are ensuring it’s a case of wait-and-see as to the prospects of it all going ahead.
Cheltenham (inspection 10.30am) are confident they’ll get the go ahead, with Doncaster facing a second morning inspection for their National Hunt cards after and Bangor-on-Dee succumbed to the elements.
No such fears for the all-weather cards at Wolverhampton in the afternoon and from Southwell and Dundalk under the Friday Night Lights, however.
Our Friday fancies include the rapidly improve mare Mullenbeg as she heads to Cheltenham seeking to complete a quick four-timer over hurdles.
- Cheltenham 15.00 – Mullenbeg 11/4
- Cheltenham 14.25 – Nassalam @ 13/2
- Southwell 17.45 – International Law @ 11/2
- Wolverhampton 14.30 – Frantanck @ 6/4
Milton Harris will have high hopes of being amongst the winners at Cheltenham this weekend and MULLENBEG (11/4) can ensure he’s not left waiting too long by enhancing her record in the Catesby Estates Handicap Hurdle (15.00) in the hands of Johnny Burke.
The Walk In The Park mare has won her last three starts over hurdles at Plumpton, Fakenham and Ludlow – all at two-miles. She was seven-lengths clear of the remainder at Ludlow nine days ago and is officially 1lb ‘well-in’ under her penalty coming here.
This is a different track to those she has excelled on of late over timber but it shouldn’t hold many fears given she was a Listed bumper winner here last season. There looks to be more to come from her and she’s fancied to justify her position on the Most Napped table via the Betfred Betfinder today.
The most valuable race on the Cheltenham card today is the Dahlbury Handicap Chase (2.25) with a pot of almost £40k to the winner. Commodore won 12 months ago for Venetia Williams and is back for another crack but fellow top-weight NASSALAM (13/2) is a good value alternative for Gary and Jamie Moore.
Nassalam was a fine novice last season, winning at Ascot, Newbury (Grade 2) and Fontwell while never finishing outside of the front two in his five starts over fences.
He was well held on seasonal return at Ascot (2m1f, good) in October and then ran respectably over 2m4f (good) here last month in the big handicap chase at the November Meeting. He’s a sound jumper and is a very interesting contender now having his stamina stretched out. He, too, features on the Most Napped table and is fancied to show up well.
Course form at Southwell still counts for plenty and October’s C&D scorer INTERNATIONAL LAW (11/2) is fancied to notch a second success at the Nottinghamshire venue this evening.
Anthony Brittain’s gelding is experienced but was having only his fifth Southwell start – and his first at his 1m4f trip – when he came home strongly to score by two-lengths under Cam Hardie in October with a dual subsequent winner behind in second spot.
International Law has run just once since, finishing a commendable second-best from 5lb higher at Wolverhampton 10 days ago behind a well-handicapped winner. On that evidence he’s 2b well-in for this Southwell return and in what is a Betfred Extra Place Race (four places) he looks a force to reckon with.
Just one runner on the card at Wolverhampton today for William Haggas and FRANTANCK (6/4) can ensure it’s a worthwhile journey to the Black Country for the Newmarket trainer.
The son of Frankel has turf wins at Goodwood and Windsor (1m, good to firm/soft) on his CV already this season and, having been gelded, he failed to shine over 1m2f at Newmarket in a Class 3 contest in October when last spotted.
This mile trip appears his optimum currently and he’s got Adam Farragher taking a handy 3lb off in the saddle this afternoon for what is a drop in class. He also ran well on Tapeta at Newcastle in his racecourse bow over 7f last year, so should have no fears on the Dunstall Park surface.