PREPARING for adverse weather conditions during early March means digging through the all weather form book while waiting for the turf to thaw out.
As long as they can clear the snow, Lingfield will hopefully get the go-ahead for racing tomorrow and there’s some good quality action too.
Sub-zero temperatures aren’t enough to deter Ryan Moore from taking up three good rides at the Surrey track, starting with ENCORE D’OR in the Class Two five-furlong Betway Handicap (2.55pm).
It was all too late for Moore and Robert Cowell’s six-year-old over course and distance last Saturday, battling on late but finishing a nose behind pillar-to-post winner Gracious John.
The result really could have gone either way and I’m happy to take another chance on him getting his head in front.
That was his first run in the UK since September and, despite a small rise in the handicap, he can build on that and go very close again.
The opposition isn’t all that appetising either, with Atletico appearing the most likely danger.
He’s been pretty unlucky in several of his recent efforts, with his form figures currently reading 222, and he’ll be back in the winners’ enclosure before too long.
On his first spin around Lingfield being drawn wide in stall seven is far from ideal, though, and he could be part of another hard luck story.
Royal Birth and Boom The Groom are the usual all-weather sprint suspects and should run solid races, but they both finished behind my selection last time out and I think he’ll have the measure of them again. Martyn Meade’s Cartographer, twice a winner on the turf over six furlongs, is an interesting runner.
He’s more unexposed than the others, but is having his first run over the minimum trip and may just get tapped for toe.
Whatever happens with Encore D’Or, Moore will be heading into the day’s feature race, the Listed 32Red Spring Cup Stakes (3.30pm), with a 100 per cent strike rate.
Him and trainer Jeremy Noseda are two from two at Lingfield this year after last weekend’s double and they team up with LANSKY.
Placed in Group company and a winner on the all-weather at Kempton last time out, the three-year old son of Dark Angel has some solid form in the book and looks open to further progression.
Having cost a lumpy 300,000gns, the yard holds him in high regard and he may just be too good for these.
The William Haggas-trained Headway also ran well in Group company last season, finishing second in the Coventry Stakes before dead-heating for third in the Gimcrack, and is a serious contender.
Bengali Boys looks the other danger on ratings, but I have my concerns over this seven-furlong trip.
All five of the Clodovil colt’s runs, including when winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint, have come over five furlongs, so this is a big step into the unknown.
Mark Johnston gets his fair share of winners on the all-weather and his last time out distance winner, Rufus King, looks best of the rest.
Fran Berry is the other man that I’ll be entrusting with my cash at Lingfield.
The Irishman has had a storming winter on the all-weather and rides bottom-weight SEA FOX in the day’s opening one-mile handicap (1.30pm).
He made all to win a novice stakes race at Kempton two starts back, and both the third and fourth have come out to win since, while he was unlucky not to follow that up last time out over course and distance.
Edward Greatrex appeared to have some trouble pulling his whip through half a furlong from home and the horse finished third by a short-head and a nose.
Hopefully he can be on the right side of the finer margins tomorrow.
Sea Fox e/w 1.30pm Lingfield
Encore D’Or 2.55pm Lingfield
Lansky 3.30pm Lingfield