10 handicap hurdlers go to post for the fourth race of the day at Lingfield, a 2 mile hurdle. See our betting tips and the full race preview.
IN SUMMARY: Due to be 3lb higher in the future, this looks a good opportunity for COOL SKY to go one better today. He was a good second at Fontwell on his latest start which showed lots of improvement from his penultimate start and with the the Ian Williams yard in such good form at present, he should take all the beating with champion jockey Richard Johnson on board. The likely main danger is Steel City who placed here last month and under a 10lb claimer is lurking on a potentially dangerous weight today.
1 FAIRY RATH – Could potentially be on a useful mark for his previous efforts which have mainly been over fences, finishing a good 2nd in the Topham Chase at Aintree back in April. Returns to hurdling for the first time since February 2015 and if at his best after 7 months off he could be a good each way contender for Nick Gifford, but as an 11 year old it goes without saying he’s vulnerable to younger legs.
2 BINGO D’OLIVATE – Won comfortably on his handicap debut at Newbury back in March (2m, Soft) and as a consequence his BHA mark went from 114 up to 125, which he has struggled to overcome since. Unable to land a blow on his seasonal reappearance here in November (2m, Soft), he then pulled up at Ffos Las with no real excuses (2m, Soft), confirming that this mark is probably too much for him at present. Probably best watched today.
3 DAREBIN – Won here over C&D on his penultimate start in quite convincing fashion but it is quite possible he was flattered by that performance as he was well beaten at Fontwell a month later (2m 1f, Good to Soft). 6lb above his last winning mark seems beyond him at present and place claims at best if bouncing back from that recent poor display.
4 PERUVIEN BLEU – Whipped around at the start and soft ground certainly didn’t suit when finishing 4th of 9 at Uttoxeter on his penultimate start in December (2m, Soft). He was soundly beaten yesterday at Hereford (2m, Soft) finishing last and doesn’t make much appeal today if he was to make this quick reappearance.
5 SEA WALL – Finished behind Steel City on his latest start over C&D latest and in general he is below form at present, with both his runs this season underwhelming. Clearly has something to find at the moment and there are too many question marks surrounding him today, so can’t be considered.
6 COOL SKY – Due to be 3lb higher in the future after his good 2nd at Fontwell on Boxing Day (2m 1f, Good to Soft) and quickly reappears to make use of this good looking mark. Only twice raced this season after a years absence, he improved markedly on his seasonal reappearance in that Fontwell race and better things can be expected again as he continues to become more and more race fit. He should take all the beating today for the inform Ian Williams yard with Richard Johnson on board which is another big plus.
7 KINGSTON – Prolific under both codes when in France but made a very low-key British debut at Sandown in a listed race, well beaten finishing in 8th place (1m 7f, Good to Soft). That was his first run in a year in a tough race but even dropping down in grade doesn’t make him appeal much.
8 RYEOLLIEAN – Hasn’t been seen since December 2015 but does have good enough form in the books to feature if he did return at his best, with his penultimate start Wincanton a good effort in the context of this race (1m 7f, Soft). Races off the same mark for his seasonal reappearance but is entitled to need this run and best watched today.
9 FREE STONE HILL – Lightly raced thus far, with only two races over hurdles to date for Dan Skelton, finishing well beaten on both occasions. Makes his handicap debut on a mark of 112 but still needs to show some improvement if he is to feature, and has place claims at best if he finds this easier than the maidens he previously ran in.
10 STEEL CITY – Placed here on his latest start over C&D last month with Sea Wall held in behind him, and that effort represented a much improved display from his previous run. 10lb claimer Daniel Sansom is quite capable with three wins under his belt from 40 hurdles rides and if the 9 year old improves again on only his third start after a break he’d have to be considered the main danger today.