Wednesday has a bit more quality to what we have seen earlier in the week, although that wouldn't be difficult with Monday's racing. Catterick has a bright day forecast and the ground on Tuesday night was given as good, good to soft in places.
There's an ever-popular Veterans' Chase to open the day in Yorkshire and a 0-130 Handicap Hurdle. Expect decent ground too at Wincanton with six races, although the two biggest fields in terms of runners have 10 and 12. And us usual, All-Weather backers and layers have a busy day in store with Lingfield and Kempton.
Yesterday's Lingfield card saw the pace-setters do well landing four of the races, and Down Royal provided some chunky Betfair SPs with three winners at 28, 34 and 42. There were also a couple 56.0 successes elsewhere.
This is my final day looking after all the stats and angles as Daryl Carter returns for Thursday, so hopefully we can end on a high following the rather flat effort of The Priests Leap before DC returns to the hotseat.
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 Wincanton: Royal Practitioner - 17.016/1 into 11.010/1
15:10 Catterick: Big Bad Bear - 11.010/1 into 8.515/2
16:10 Catterick: I Will Follow Her - 15.014/1 into 6.511/2
The market says LAY!
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
16:20 Wincanton: Abuffalosoldier - 6/4 OUT to 7/4
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
For the all-weather there's an Extra Place Special in the opening 1m5f Amateur Riders' Handicap for the 13:00 at Lingfield. And while these races are never easy, Gary Moore's horses are chugging along from the last month with 22 winners at 28%. Rider Rob Hargreaves hasn't had much experience with just five rides, but his sole win was in an older horse handicap on the All-Weather - so Stormingin, who can be a tricky fella, looks worth a bet at 5/1 on the Sportsbook following his second from off the pace last time.
He has made my betting list for the day.
The Extra Place Special contest at Catterick is the finale 16:10 Mares' Handicap Hurdle over 2m. I've gone for Latino Fling in my Daily Racing Multiple column , who has traded short in defeat in two runs for Donald McCain. She is down in distance and has an excellent chance at the bare distance. However, for the each-way play, I Will Follow Her for Mel Rowley was backed last night on the Sportsbook from 20/1 to 14/1, a mare I had a bet on at a big price last time but disappointed at Market Rasen.
She didn't stay 2m7f in that, so reverting to 2m should be better and Rowley is an underrated trainer. She's had a winner and three places from her last 12 runners and has the hood on today. Although McCain's stats are impressive at Catterick with 5-23 this season at 22%.
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.
13:30 Lingfield - No Flies On Me 2.915/8 has won twice here (67%).
14:30 Lingfield - Perfect Symphony 17.016/1 has won twice here (15%).
16:00 Lingfield - Swiss Pride 8.07/1 has won five times here (38%), and Bowling Russian 41.040/1 has won twice here (67%).
13:40 Catterick - Sharp Response 3.814/5 has won here twice (100%).
17:30 Kempton - Queen Of Burgundy has won here twice (67%).
18:00 Kempton - Takeonefortheteam 7.06/1 has won here four times (29%), and Hold Fast has won here three times 4.57/2 (33%).
19:00 Kempton - The Blue Bower 9.08/1 has won here twice (22%).
19:30 Kempton - Cinzento 5.04/1 has won here twice (67%).
Weighted to go well
"Weighted to go well" highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
13:40 Catterick - Ramonex 5.59/2 has won off 117 and runs from 103.
15:40 Catterick - Victory Echo 26.025/1 has won off 112 and runs from 110.
16:10 Catterick - Ilaya 13.012/1 has won off 113 and runs from 100.
15:20 Wincanton - Findusatgorcombe 9.08/1 has won off 99 and runs from 87.
16:00 Lingfield - El Hombre 10.09/1 has won off 88 and runs from 72.
17:30 Kempton - Agent Of Fortune 13.012/1 has won off 76 and runs from 56.
18:00 Kempton - Win Win Power 23.022/1 has won off 67 and runs from 57.
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Trainer Laura Morgan's horses seem to be in much better form turning into the new year, and some of her runners have been seeing out their races better. And for a relatively small yard she has fired in 6-31 in the last month at 19%. Dom Perry 9.08/1 lines up in the 2m3f Novices' Hurdle 14:40 Catterick for the yard. He makes his hurdling debut with headgear on for the first time, but he showed ability in two bumpers and won a steady-paced one at Fakenham last term.
Morgan also Serious Mood 13.012/1 in the 15:40 2m3f Handicap Chase at Catterick although he has shown very little so far.
Young jockey Tom Midgley has three wins from his last nine rides at 33% and has just the one ride in the Catterick opener 13:40 on board Manwell 7.06/1 for Sam England. He finished third in the Grand Sefton at Aintree in November at a huge price and briefly looked a player off a low weight in that handicap. But he needs to bounce back after a poor run at Sedgefield recently and has dropped down to 117.
Tom O'Brien is the leading rider at Wincanton this season with a stellar 7-22 at 32%, holding Harry Cobden by two wins, although rather surprisingly O'Brien has just one ride on big outsider Mr Palm. Cobden hasn't ridden a winner from his last 17.
Seven pound claimer Phillip Armson has had just two rides at 'Winkers' this term with one victory, and his sole mount on Wednesday is the last-time-out winner Trump Lady 5.59/2 in the 13:40 2m5f Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
She hasn't been with new trainer Harriet Brown for long with just two starts, and she bolted up Exeter last time by nearly double digits. She carries a penalty and has in-form Electric Annie to beat.
For the all-weather at Kempton tonight, two of the hottest jockeys are Ross Coakley and Robert Winston. Coakley is near 50% in the last month with a healthy 8-17, while Winston's 36% 5-14 rate is not too shabby either.
Winston rides Godolphin hotpot Montessecco 2.111/10 in the Kempton 17:00 7f Maiden. He was far too free on his debut and Charlie Appleby applies the hood - a trainer who should be noted with first-time headgear. Although at 6/5, I am hardly unearthing a gem.
Coakley's two rides are Prince Of Harts 8.515/2 in the Kempton 18:30 1m3f Handicap and Exuding 6.511/2 in the following 6f Handicap at 19:00.
Exuding has a good German pedigree but failed to fire with previous trainer Roger Varian. Now with Rod Millman, her two starts for the Devon team have seen her drop down to 72 and showed a little at Southwell recently.
Veteran trainer and dab hand with sprinters Eric Alston doesn't have too many runners over the chilly winter months, but Kasperenko is making the hefty 224 mile trek for the 1m3f Handicap in the 18:30 at Kempton and is a big price at 15/2 considering he is top rated from 87 - some way lower than his peak three-figure rating when trained in Ireland.
The furthest traveller for Wincanton's Wednesday action is Sarah Humphrey's Gloire D'Athon - who will clock up 184 miles from the trainer's Cambridgeshire yard and runs for the team for the first time since leaving Henry De Bromhead. He is the 66/1 outsider in the 15:50.
Race of the day
We have two races of the day as a quick word should go to one of the highest-rated runners for the afternoon at Wincanton in the shape of Danny Kirwan. He's had a reputation throughout his career, especially early on. He ran a flat race over fences last time out and didn't see his race out at Kempton at all with a rather tame finishing product.
His chase debut previously at Cheltenham was a good start, but so often in his career he can produce quite a few shockers. He is by stallion Scorpion, who can often get talented but often quirky individuals who can turn sour with the more races they have. Danny Kirwan isn't quite in the bracket yet, but there's something slightly untrustworthy about him - I hope I am wrong as he is a fine looker (often a Scorpion trait).
A return to Wincanton could do the trick as he won by a wide margin in a novice hurdle last spring, so decent ground shouldn't be a worry. His trainer Paul Nicholls has gone for the cheekpieces today, and if they can galvanise him, he can get back on track as he does stay 2m6f.
The Wincanton 14:20 2m4f Novices' Chase only has three other runners, and it effectively looks a match with Alan King's Jay Bee Why. However, King's horses aren't quite firing at the moment with just one winner from his last 25 runners, although he has had a few placed.
Jay Bee Why's jumping was pressured too much behind My Drogo in a Cheltenham novice last time, but he shaped okay on his chase debut at Exeter and was a useful 136-rated hurdler who featured in the Leamington Spa last term. Up in trip, I would rather back him than his main market rival.
Incidentally, Danny Kirwan was one of the many early members of Fleetwood Mac, a highly talented guitarist with a wonderful voice.
Over at Catterick, the opening Veterans' race at 13:40 is the best betting heat of the day as it's so open. Curiously, the top two in the betting were both pulled up when last seen. One of this is the Sue Smith-trained Sharp Response, who has form figures of VPP. Hopefully it will stand for "very profitable punt" as this represents a massive drop in class considering some of his rivals.
He landed a North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick in 2019 from 134 and ran second at Betfair's Haydock meeting in the same year. However, he was sidelined for nearly two years and hasn't fired at all in two runs this term, but off a mark of 122 he is thrown in on his old form and drying ground is up his strasse.
I considered Justforjames, but Sharp Response jumps well and is a thorough stayer.
Big race verdict
As I am not convinced about Danny Kirwan's attitude, I am happy to take him on with a lay of around 1.910/11 as I can envisage Jay Bee Why outstaying him , and he could go shorter in-running as I can see him leading. And Sharp Response will be my bet in the opening Catterick race to get back to form for Thomas Willmott and Smith - who both had a winner at Haydock on Saturday. Sharp Response is also 2-2 at Catterick.
Tony Calvin's second ante-post preview of the week
Tony has added a second bet to his ante-post list for the weekend's action, and also provides a detailed update on double-entries for the weekend. You can also click here to read the latest ante-post view on the Stayers Hurdle for Cheltenham.
Timeform offer up three of their best on the all-weather
Read Timeform tips here.
Andrew Asquith from the Halifax team casts his eye over the Kempton card and has selected a well-treated each-way bet.
With just 49 sleeps left until the Cheltenham festival (or one sleep if you're an insomniac like me), as a punter and follower of the sport, we are spoilt for content and analysis which can only be excellent for fuelling debate and there's nothing better than good, healthy diametrically opposite views - it makes for great listening. On these pages alone we have the latest Festival Focus previews and the brand new Cheltenham Roarcast plus the Footsteps to the Festival with the Weighed In team.
However, I'd like to stick up for the Bumper, a race that no one seems to like nor care for. I love it, although my good friend remarked as I am Flat racing devotee that's it's the closest to that at Prestbury Park. I got into bumpers thanks to former Timeform Radio colleague David Cleary, who I learned a tremendous amount from with pedigrees etc and would often report from the track the good-lookers and the not-so good lookers.
My selection is wholly unoriginal however in American Mike, but his 17L win at Navan in a good time excites me as much as the National Hunt Chase. In fact my three favourite punting races are usually the old four-miler, the Coral Cup and the bumper. Perhaps it's the lack of sleep.....
Good luck and thanks for reading.