There's excellent racing from Lingfield today as their three-day mixed meeting gets underway with excellent prize money attracting good horses throughout the card. That's where we head for our race of the day feature, there are stats and angles from other meetings as always, and I offer up an ante-post bet for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in three weeks time.
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.
13:10 Southwell - Nine Elms 18/1 into 12/1
13:40 Southwell - Shyjack 18/1 into 12/1
15:35 Lingfield - Metier 3/1 into 11/4
The morning market drifters !
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
16:08 Lingfield - Neil The Legend 11/4 OUT 3/1 and drifting
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
At Market Rasen in the 12:30 Novices' Hurdle, trainer Olly Murphy has a 24% strike with horses wearing a first-time tongue-tie, and that's the case with Barony Legends 2.68/5 today.
Trainer Paul Nicholls has a 50% strike rate over hurdles at Lingfield. Today he saddles Rainyday Woman 2.68/5 in the 12:50.
Trainer Phillip Hobbs has one runner at Lingfield today, Le Ligerien 4.57/2 in the 13:50 and he has a 43% strike rate over fences at this venue.
Trainer Harry Fry has a 50% strike rate in bumpers at Market Rasen, and today he saddles Fairy Gem 21.020/1 in the 14:40.
Jockey 50% plus strike rates
Jockey Jonjo O'Neill Jr has a 50% strike rate when riding for owners The Three Cabelleros, and today he takes the ride on Skylanna Breeze 23.022/1 in the 13:30 at Market Rasen.
Jockey Mark Crehan has a 60% strike rate when riding for George Boughey at Newcastle. Today they partner with Sip And Smile 4.03/1 in the 18:00 Maiden Stakes.
Jockey Laura Pearson has a strike rate of 67% when riding for trainer David Loughnane at Southwell, and today they partner with Inevitable Outcome 4.57/2 in the 15:25 Handicap.
Jockey Harry Cobden has a 75% strike rate when riding for owner S White and they partner with Rainyday Woman 2.68/5 in the 12:50 at Lingfield.
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.
13:40 Southwell - Palazzo - Has won here four times (33%)
14:15 Southwell - Back From Dubai - Has won here twice (40%)
14:05 Market Rasen - Presuming Ed - Has won here twice (100%)
17:00 Newcastle - Tadleel - Has won here three times (60%)
Weighted to go well
"Weighted to go well" highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
13:40 Southwell - Power On - Has won off 67 runs off 54
14:15 Southwell - Makambe - Has won off 71 runs off 56
15:25 Southwell - Aljari - Has won off 92 runs off 80
15:45 Market Rasen - Raecius Felix - Has won off 117 runs off 112
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Trainer Milton Harris has been operating at a 33% strike rate in the last 14 days. Today, the trainer has one entry in the 14:40 Bumper at Market Rasen with Mullenbeg 8.07/1.
Trainer Sandy Thompson has two runners today at Lingfield making the 388-mile journey. The trainer runs Cedar Hill 8.07/1 at 13:50, who will look for his first win away from Kelso and Crossgalesfamegame 10.09/1 in the preceding 13:20 Mares Chase.
Race of the day
Lingfield is the obvious place for today's feature race, and we take a closer look at the 15:35 Sovereign Handicap Hurdle, where a former Grade 1 Tolworth winner competes off a handicap mark of just 139.
Metier has fallen nine pounds in the handicap since contesting in the Supreme Novice Hurdle last year on the back of his excellent Grade 1 Tolworth win. In December, he pulled up on seasonal return at Sandown but bounced back with an eye-catching run at Ascot when fourth in the Betfair Exchange Trophy.
He was denied a clear run at a crucial stage in that contest and probably found the good to soft ground quick enough for him on that occasion.
Today's heavy ground is the first time he would have had his ground conditions since the Tolworth Hurdle, and the handicapper has been quick to relent, allowing him to run in this valuable contest off a handicap mark of 139.
With ground conditions to suit and this seemingly an easier assignment on paper than his latest run, he must go close.
Emmet Mullins should always be feared, and he saddles two runners, one of which is the fancied Carrarea, who went agonisingly close to scoring on handicap debut at Fairyhouse last time. He finished with a powerful kick, and he looks a highly progressive five-year-old to take seriously.
The English handicapper has taken no chances with his mark given he ran off 116 at Fairyhouse and today saddles the burden of 127, in arguably better company.
The ground is a slight unknown given all of his best work has come on good to soft or better, but he is a fascinating runner, and it would be no surprise should the trainer continue his profitable raids on Britain today.
Thibault has been knocking on the door of late, and the return to testing conditions is an obvious angle to his chances, but the nine-year-old needs a career-best effort to land this contest, and it's hard to argue he is improving.
He looks a solid prospect for each-way purposes should one or two falter.
Big race verdict
This is a good race, and the Mullins runners are highly respected. However, this could be the opportunity that METIER needs to get back on track and faced with conditions he handled impeccably well last season, means he gets the vote. Harry Fry suggested that this race has been the plan since Ascot, and it's positive to see Sean Bowen back in the saddle.
Timeform looking to Nurse Susan to make easy work of her rivals
Timeform's Andrew Asquith highlights a NAP, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Lingfield on Friday.
Read Timeform tips here.
Mark Milligan keeps it short and sweet with two selections at Dundalk
Fresh from a winner at Dundalk last week, Irish expert Mark Milligan is back with another pair of selections...
Read Mark's column here.
Have a Fantastikas Friday at Lingfield
At Lingfield in the 15:00 Novices' Chase, Nigel Twiston-Davies' Fantastikas 3.55/2 makes plenty of appeal in what is a more straightforward assignment than his last two contests.
Only three horses have finished ahead of him over fences thus far, and they read well - L'Homme Presse, The Glancing Queen and Threeunderthrufive - so the drop into calmer waters today should see him to best effect.
The return to softer conditions are of little concern, and the step back up to 3m for which his form figures read 21322 looks in his favour.
He comes out best at the weights here and is fast on the upgrade, so he should take a good bit of beating in this company.
Betfair Hurdle is just 3 weeks away
I wanted to offer up an ante-post bet for our sponsored race in just over three weeks at Newbury on Super Saturday in the highly anticipated Betfair Hurdle.
Knickerbockerglory 17.016/1 is a horse that very much caught the eye with his all the way victory at Taunton when running out a ready winner by 15 lengths in an excellent time figure. He has been on the radar since his impressive bumper victory at Ludlow and his second behind the unbeaten Doddiethegreat on debut.
Both of those races have worked out well and it was clear from his two Novice Hurdle runs that Dan and Harry Skelton had handicap plans for this horse.
He currently sits on a handicap mark of 122, but he is entered at Wincanton on the 26th of Jan, for which he must win (and damn well should off this mark) to get in the race.
His win at Taunton from the first hurdle at the two-mile point was 6.63 seconds faster than JPR One, a well-fancied joint-favourite for the Betfair Hurdle, and there is no way this horse should be twice the price.
I am banking on him winning at Wincanton next week for the Skelton clan, who had the ill-fated Cadzand for the same owners go off favourite for this contest last season.
A sensational day, and weekend, for that matter, to look forward to in the racing world with Shishkin and Energumene the highlight of the day on Saturday!
Where ever you are, whatever you are doing, stop and get to a TV for 15:35 because this is one for the ages, and I simply can't wait. Who wins, you ask? Racing, that's who wins!
Have a great weekend, and until next Thursday, be lucky.
P.s Back the Betfair Hurdle tip!
Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7