Racing tips and best bets for Thursday 23 January – Symonds’ 7/2 chance can strike Wetherby gold

Ascot hosts the feature meeting of the day, while Uttoxeter, Southwell and Kempton also go racing.Ascot hosts the feature meeting of the day, while Uttoxeter, Southwell and Kempton also go racing.

Brian Healy gives his race by race selections for every UK and Irish racemeeting today.

Brian Healy gives his horse racing tips and best bets for Thursday as he assesses all five of the day’s UK and Irish racemeetings scheduled to go to post.

There are five UK and Irish horse racing meetings taking place throughout Thursday, and the day’s jumps racing action comes from Fakenham and Wetherby, as well as from Gowran Park in Ireland where it is Theystes Chase and Galmoy Hurdle day.

Meanwhile, all-weather action on Thursday comes from Southwell in the afternoon on their fibresand surface, while Newcastle are racing in the evening under the floodlights on tapeta. Get our best bets for Thursday’s racing action!

Fakenham (jumps) – 12.25 – 3.45pm (7 races)
Southwell (flat, aw) – 12.40 – 4.05pm (7 races)
Gowran Park (jumps) – 12.45 – 4.10pm (7 races)
Wetherby (jumps) – 1.05 – 3.55pm (6 races)
Newcastle (flat, aw) – 4.30 – 8.00pm (8 races)



12.55 Fakenham – STONEBRIGG LEGEND (11/4, William Hill)
1.15 Southwell – BARBELO (9/4, Coral)
1.20 Gowran Park – AIONE (4/7, Ladbrokes)
1.25 Fakenham – THE FLYING SOFA (5/4, Bet365)
1.35 Wetherby – STARPLEX (15/8, Paddy Power)
2.20 Southwell – MERRYWEATHER (11/8, Paddy Power)
3.00 Gowran Park – CHEF DES OBEAUX (6/1, Paddy Power)
3.20 Wetherby – HOLLYWOODIEN (7/2, Unibet)
5.00 Newcastle – PROCEEDING (6/4, Ladbrokes)
6.00 Newcastle – FENDALE (7/2, Bet365)


(12.55 Fakenham)

STONEBRIGG LEGEND (11/4, William Hill) has finished runner-up in each of her last three starts, but the Midnight Legend mare might be worth siding with here to get back on the winning trail.

Sarah Humphrey’s charge made a solid return from 200 days off the track to chase home North Star Ocean over timber at Huntingdon back in November, and her subsequent back-to-back silver medal finishes have both come over fences at that venue and here latest when possibly finding the trip too sharp.

She goes back up in distance here and returns to hurdling where she could be well treated off a mark of 79 back over the smaller obstacles given that she won from the same mark over fences last term at this venue.

(1.25 Fakenham)

THE FLYING SOFA (5/4, Bet365) has proven himself a consistent performer at a higher level than this, and while the Sholokhov gelding has a fair bit of weight to carry here Gary Moore’s charge could prove equal to the task.

He only once finished out of the frame in six starts over hurdles last term, which included behind Acey Milan and Pentland Hills and he rounded off last term with a win at Plumpton.

He has shown aptitude for chasing in his four starts although he has yet to win in this sphere; but he has taken in tougher tests than this and he finished just over six lengths’ third behind Greaneteen at Ascot when last seen.

Dropped 1lb in the handicap and down in grade into a Class Four contest, he can post a big effort and no surprise if he gets back on the scoresheet and off the mark over fences now.

12.25 – Blue Monday
12.55 – Stonebrigg Legend
1.25 – The Flying Sofa
2.00 – Grand Roi
2.35 – Cap Du Nord
3.10 – Maskada
3.45 – Young Offender

Trainer Gary Moore features in Thursday's horse racing tips and his The Flying Sofa is one of today's best bets.

Trainer Gary Moore can saddle a winner at Fakenham on Thursday.


(1.15 Southwell)

BARBELO (9/4, Coral) shaped with some ability amid greenness when finishing last of seven behind Chasing Dreams on her debut at Wolverhampton last October, but Richard Spencer’s charge stepped up on that experience to finish less than two lengths’ third to Will To Win at the same venue earlier this month and the Dark Angel filly can find another jolt of improvement to get off the mark at the third attempt.

She ran on well from mid-division on that occasion, possibly not ideally placed; but she had a subsequent winner behind her, and she could be suited by this deeper surface although the drop to the minimum trip is a slight concern.

Nevertheless, she is less exposed than her rivals in this contest and she remains open to progress; assuming she handles the fibresand the she could open her account now under the in-form Ben Curtis.

(2.20 Southwell)

MERRYWEATHER (11/8, Paddy Power) had the reopposing Mrs Up John behind her when making a winning return from a break at Lingfield last month, and Michael Appleby’s charge built on that success to follow up over course and distance earlier in the month.

The Dunaden filly now chases a hat-trick of wins and faces just two rivals; but there could be more to come from her given that she overcame a wide draw to score at Lingfield, battling well, and she showed her tenacity again latest to hold off Itwouldberudenotto by a neck.

She’s been raised 6lbs for that success, but she is only 1lb worse off with Mrs Up John from their previous encounter and given she has experience of this surface already then she looks the way to go with further improvement likely.

12.40 – Le Manege Enchante
1.15 – Barbelo
1.45 – Little India
2.20 – Merryweather
2.55 – Blowing Dixie
3.30 – Hareem Queen
4.05 – Cold Harbour


(1.20 Gowran Park)

Hard to escape the claims of Willie Mullins’ AIONE (4/7, Ladbrokes) in this contest, and the Coastal Path gelding ought to be hard to beat.

A point-to-point winner for Donnchadh Doyle, he made a winning start following his move to Closutton with a bumper win at Punchestown. However he tasted defeat on his first outing over hurdles at Fairyhouse on New Years’ Day behind Home By The Lee although the experience won’t have been lost on him.

He shaped as if a stiffer test might suit in that defeat, but while he’s kept to the same yardage for this latest outing he might appreciate the more testing ground and the booking of Rachael Blackmore catches the eye so every chance of a big run here and he ought to get back on the scoresheet and open his account over timber.

(3.00 Gowran Park)

CHEF DES OBEAUX (6/1, Paddy Power) could have a big handicap prize in him, and Willie Mullins’ charge can collect here in the Theystes Chase, one of the most prestigious handicaps in Ireland.

The Saddler Maker gelding won three times over hurdles for Nicky Henderson during the 2017/18 season, but he subsequently wasn’t the most convincing over fences for the Seven Barrows maestro despite winning at Chepstow over this trip last February.

He was pulled up in an attritional National Hunt Chase and has since joined the County Carlow trainer where he has shaped well in both starts although possibly found the trip too sharp on his first start at Fairyhouse.

However, he built on that effort with a solid fifth behind Roaring Bull at Leopardstown over the Festive Period in the Paddy Power Chase, making a bad error three out which possibly just took enough wind from his sails for the run-in where he couldn’t sustain his effort to the line.

He’s only been raised 1lb for that outing, and if his jumping holds up here then he could go close.

12.45 – Our Roxane
1.20 – Aione
1.50 – Apple’s Jade
2.25 – Brawler
3.00 – Chef Des Obeaux
3.35 – Capuccimix
4.10 – Homme D’un Soir

Apple's Jade features in our Thursday best bets at Gowran Park.

Apples Jade can win Thursday’s Galmoy Hurdle.


(1.35 Wetherby)

STARPLEX (15/8, Paddy Power) is in a good place right now and the veteran Multiplex gelding can quickly get back on the winning trail.

Since joining Keith Dalgleish from Kenny Johnston, his form figures read 22112 both on the flat and over hurdles, and he won back-to-back races at Newcastle in December before being thwarted only by a head latest at Kelso earlier this month behind Southeast Rose.

The front two were clear of the rest, and he could be worth siding with here to get back to winning ways from the same mark given that he is due to go up 4lbs in the future. He could be capable of exploiting this rating then, and in his current vein of form he ought to give another good account.

(3.20 Wetherby)

HOLLYWOODIEN (7/2, Unibet) showed useful form over fences earlier in his career, winning three times for Tom Symonds following his switch from France which includes victory at this venue, and the Martaline gelding finished third in the 2017 Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury prior to a lengthy absence.

Far from disgraced on his subsequent return from 998 days with a solid third behind Ecu De La Noverie, he has seen that form franked since and he might well have won over course and distance on his last start where he was still travelling well when blundering four out and unseating his rider.

That race was won by the reopposing Beau Bay, but if he’s none the worse for that mishap then he could make his presence felt here from the same mark while his old form is a cut above that of his rivals and if he were to run up to his best with a clear round then he might be hard to beat reunited with Aidan Coleman.

1.05 – Tavus
1.35 – Starplex
2.10 – Dino Boy
2.45 – Jobsonfire
3.20 – Hollywoodien
3.55 – Eden Du Houx

Trainer Tom Symonds can strike a Wetherby win with Thursday's NAP Hollywoodien.

Trainer Tom Symonds can strike at Wetherby.


(5.00 Newcastle)

PROCEEDING (6/4, Ladbrokes) won twice over this course and distance back in November, and the Acclamation gelding has found the frame in two of his three subsequent outings which have all come over this course and distance.

Tracy Waggott’s charge latterly bounced back from a lesser effort earlier in the month to be denied only by a nose behind Curfewed six days ago where he just failed to get up. However, he turns out here from the 1lb below that mark and he could get back to winning ways with a repeat.

The trainer trained the first three home in that contest and there is a suspicion the winner was well-handicapped so there was no disgrace in his narrow defeat. Assuming he is in similar form then he is weighted to go close and he should remain competitive here.

(6.00 Newcastle)

FENDALE (7/2, Bet365) wasn’t seen to best effect when denied only by a half-length over course and distance last month, but Bryan Smart’s charge can get back on the scoresheet here.

A winner here over five furlongs last January, the Exceed and Excel gelding went close to a follow up on his next start where he was narrowly beaten behind Primo’s Comet prior to a light turf campaign where he largely acquitted himself well.

He might just have needed the run when finishing seventh here on his reappearance from four months off the track behind Watchable; but he improved for the effort latest, and he could go one better here from only 1lb higher in the weights and easing back in grade.

4.30 – Mr Strutter
5.00 – Proceeding
5.30 – Arbiter
6.00 – Fendale
6.30 – St Just
7.00 – Billy Wedge
7.30 – Sound Mixer
8.00 – Final Legacy


12.55 Fakenham – STONEBRIGG LEGEND (11/4, William Hill)
1.15 Southwell – BARBELO (9/4, Coral)
1.20 Gowran Park – AIONE (4/7, Ladbrokes)
1.25 Fakenham – THE FLYING SOFA (5/4, Bet365)
1.35 Wetherby – STARPLEX (15/8, Paddy Power)
2.20 Southwell – MERRYWEATHER (11/8, Paddy Power)
3.00 Gowran Park – CHEF DES OBEAUX (6/1, Paddy Power)
3.20 Wetherby – HOLLYWOODIEN (7/2, Unibet)
5.00 Newcastle – PROCEEDING (6/4, Ladbrokes)
6.00 Newcastle – FENDALE (7/2, Bet365)