Thursday horse racing tips 2 January – Greatrex’s 6/4 chance can shine at Ayr

Get Brian Healy's race-by-race selections and best bets for Monday 2 January UK and Irish racecards at Ayr, Lingfield and Chelmsford.

Only three UK and Irish horse racing fixtures go to post on Thursday with a jumps meeting at Ayr joined by a pair of all-weather fixtures from Lingfield in the afternoon, and Chelmsford in the evening under the floodlights.

Lingfield (flat, aw) – 11.45 -3.30pm (7 races)
Ayr (jumps) – 12.30 – 3.45pm (7 races)
Chelmsford (flat, aw) – 4.00 – 7.30pm (8 races)

Brian Healy looks at every card in Thursday and gives his selection in every race.



(12.45) DEPOSE (3/1,Ladbrokes) is bred to be useful, and the Kingman filly may yet come good after four starts to date where she has largely been running creditably.

Hugo Palmer’s charge finished a short-head runner-up when returning from a three months’ break at Kempton back in October on just her second start, and she has run better than her bare form figures suggest on both of her two subsequent outings.

She latterly finished just two lengths’ fourth behind Waddat back at Kempton, squeezed for room at a crucial stage, and there could still be more to come from her so could be worth chancing to open her account now stepping back up to seven furlongs.

(1.15) IRISH ACCLAIM (9/4, Unibet) shaped with promise in his two starts on turf over the summer, and Clive Cox’s charge found another jolt of improvement returning from more than four months off the track to find only one too good on his all-weather debut at Chelmsford last month.

That run may just have been needed, and the Acclamation colt could improve again for the outing and having his sights switched to handicapping where a mark of 78 looks very workable judging on his performances to date.

This looks a trappy affair, and all five runners can have a case made; but he looks a progressive sort, and he may yet have more to offer so gets the vote to open his account now tackling a handicap.

11.45 – Toro Dorado
12.15 – Puerto Banus
12.45 – Depose
1.15 – Irish Acclaim
1.50 – Dreaming Away
2.25 – Roundabout Magic
2.55 – Skerryvore
3.30 – Music Major

Lingfield are racing on Thursday.


(1.35) SUNNY EXPRESS (6/4, Bet365) should find this a bit easier than the Haydock comtest he tackled last time out, where he eventually finished fifth behind Marie’s Rock, and Warren Greatrex’s charge can show improvement again to open his account over hurdles at the third attempt.

The Jeremy gelding showed up well in a bumper here last April, finishing third, and he offered plenty to work on switched to the hurdles game following a break where he found only one too strong in Curramore at Carlisle.

He took quite a fierce hold at Haydock and might have overexerted himself; but the form looks strong with the winner and third both winning since, while the runner-up collected another silver medal next time out.

This is an easier grade than that Haydock contest, and likely to have further improvement he gets the vote to get off the mark now.

(2.10) AIN’T MY FAULT (5/4, Ladbrokes) has done nothing wrong over fences, finishing runner-up on all four outings over the larger obstacles; but Lucinda Russell’s charge might be able to open his account at the fifth attempt, and Beneficial gelding can give another good account.

A point-to-point winner for Colin Motherway prior to joining this yard, he showed some fair form over hurdles; but he has looked a much better chaser, posting arguably his best performance when denied only by Ubaltique at Kelso on his penultimate start.

He has since chased home Nuts Well on his latest start at Wetherby, and that one struck at Musselburth on New Years’ Day to give that form a boost. He looks sure to get his head in front sooner than later, and the handicapper has eased him 1lb in the weights so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to capitalise and get off the mark.

12.30 – Marown
1.00 – Big Bad Dream
1.35 – Sunny Express
2.10 – Ain’t My Fault
2.40 – Portrush Ted
3.10- Skyhill
3.45 – Western Starlet

Trainer Warren Greatrex can saddle a winner at Ayr on Thursday.


(4.30) AGENT OF FORTUNE (11/10, William Hill) is on a roll at present, winning all three starts since joining Gary Moore, and the Kheleyf mare can continue his improvement for his new yard by racking up further success despite carrying a penalty here.

A fair sort for Christine Dunnett previously, she made a winning debut for this yard at Lingfield last month, and she has added further wins over this course and distance and back at Lingfield latest where he was a cosy two lengths’ winner over Weloof.

A 5lbs penalty could leave her well-treated turned out again quickly, and assuming this latest outing just three days on doesn’t come too soon after her latest start then she ought to remain competitive and can strike again.

(5.30) WATCHABLE (11/4, Paddy Power) was winning his fifth race of 2019 when scoring at Lingfield last month, and David O’Meara’s charge can land a hat-trick of successes having struck at Newcastle the time before.

The veteran Pivotal gelding posted plenty of good efforts throughout the year, winning a couple of decent pots for connections at Doncaster and Epsom, and he did well to win latest having fluffed the start although he was ultimately well on top at the finish where he beat Prince Of Rome by just over one length.

The form of his earlier Newcastle success has seen the runner-up and third both win since, while the fifth reopposes here on better terms; but he should remain competitive nonetheless from 5lbs higher in the ratings, and every chance he can collect the hat-trick here.

4.00 – Cat Royale
4.30 – Agent Of Fortune
5.00 – Busby
5.30 – Watchable
6.00 – In Demand
6.30 – Lion Hearted
7.00 – Summit Reach
7.30 – Line Of Enquiry


12.45 Lingfield – DEPOSE (3/1,Ladbrokes)

1.15 Lingfield – IRISH ACCLAIM (9/4, Unibet)

1.35 Ayr – SUNNY EXPRESS (6/4, Bet365) (NAP)

2.10 Ayr – AIN’T MY FAULT (5/4, Ladbrokes)

4.30 Chelmsford – AGENT OF FORTUNE (11/10, William Hill)

5.30 Chelmsford – WATCHABLE (11/4, Paddy Power)