Thursday horse racing tips 9 January – Hobbs’ 11/10 chance can Pileon misery for Catterick bookies
Brian Healy looks ahead to Thursday's UK and Irish horse racing meetings and gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every race.
Thursday’s horse racing action sees five UK and Irish fixtures going to post, where the afternoon’s jumps racing comes from Catterick and Leicester, as well as from Clonmel in Ireland.
Meanwhile, there is also an afternoon all-weather fixture from Newcastle’s tapeta surface, while Chelmsford race on polytrack under the floodlights to close out the day.
Newcastle (flat, aw) – 12.15 – 4.05pm (8 races)
Clonmel (jumps) – 12.20 – 3.35pm (7 races)
Catterick (jumps) – 12.25 – 3.45pm (7 races)
Leicester (jumps) – 1.10 – 3.55pm (6 races)
Chelmsford (flat, aw) – 4.00 – 7.00pm (7 races)
Brian Healy looks over each of Thursday’s five UK and Irish racecards where he gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every fixture.
BRIAN HEALY’S NAP OF THE DAY – THURSDAY 9 JANUARY
(1.20) HIGH FORT (3/1, Paddy Power) isn’t the most reliable, but he could be worth chancing to follow up his last-time success over this course and distance last month.
Karen McLintock’s charge has also made the frame in two of his three other starts over course and distance, and he latterly struck by almost three lengths over Mr Strutter where he scored readily.
He is 7lbs higher here which will demand a career-best effort from him, but the Acclamation gelding could be capable of defying his higher mark given the way he scored last time out, and with many of his rivals having a question to answer he could prove the most solid option if able to repeat his performance from last time.
(1.55) The consistent BENDY SPIRIT (2/1, Ladbrokes) bolted up by an easy four lengths just seven days ago, and the Helmet gelding can quickly follow up under a penalty before he is reassessed.
Richard Fahey’s charge had made the frame in each of his four previous starts, including being beaten only a head here in November, and he was value for his victory last time out at Lingfield when making all and eased down before the line.
He could strike again back at this venue where he has run well previously, and this trip appears his optimum so he might prove well-treated despite his penalty and he can strike again.
12.15 – Noble Behest
12.45 – Double Martini
1.20 – High Fort
1.55 – Bendy Spirit
2.25 – Landing Night
3.00 – Lordofthehorizon
3.30 – Corked
4.05 – Clareyblue
(2.00) LORD ROYAL (SP) makes his first start for Willie Mullins team and the yard does well with their Gallic imports so the Lord Du Sud gelding looks worth siding with to make a winning debut for the Closutton maestro.
He had been beaten less than one length on his sole start on the level in France back in the spring of 2018, and he’s sure to have been well prepared ahead of this switch to hurdles so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see a big run from him on his first try in this sphere.
(3.05) BRIDGE NATIVE (4/1, Coral) won a shade readily over the re-opposing Benefit Run when the pair clashed at Tramore on New Years’ Day, and the Stowaway mare can follow up here and confirm that form.
D A Love’s charge turned in a career-best effort that day to score by almost four lengths, and he might have won by more had he not been hampered on the run to last fence. However, despite that mishap, he finished the race off well and he appeared to win a shade readily.
Now tried in handicap company, he could have more to offer after just three chase starts and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him find further improvement where he can uphold recent form despite being significantly worse off at the weights with Ross O’sullivan’s charge.
12.20 – Uisce Solas
12.50 – Still Alive
1.25 – Tiger Tap Tap
2.00 – Lord Royal
2.30 – Fighting Fit
3.05 – Bridge Native
3.35 – Some Man
(1.00) MASSINI’S DREAM (11/2, William Hill) is still a maiden over hurdles, but the Dr Massini gelding is a consistent sort, making the frame in all but two of her starts over timber and Christian Williams’ charge can finally get off the mark here.
She has returned from more than a year off the track to post successive third-place finishes at Taunton and Hereford latterly, beaten six lengths behind Mole Trap, although her chance was compromised by a late mistake in that contest and she wouldn’t need to improve too much on that form to feature prominently in this contest.
She is only 2lbs higher here, but she has been competitive in the past from higher marks and every chance a return to better ground might see her break her duck now.
(2.05) PILEON (11/10, Paddy Power) placed in the point-to-point sphere prior to joining the Philip Hobbs camp, and the Yeats gelding made a solid first impression when scoring in an Exeter bumper on his debut.
That success was followed up by a very promising fourth in a hot race at Cheltenham on his first try over hurdles, finishing four lengths’ fourth behind Chantry House where he was unable to sustain his effort up the punishing hill having held every chance over the last.
The form of his bumper win is working out well, and he can improve for his first experience of hurdling to get off the mark now at the second attempt.
12.25 – Kangaroo Valley
1.00 – Massini’s Dream
1.35 – Mountain Hawk
2.05 – Pileon
2.40 – Little Bruce
3.10 – Monfass
3.45 – Captain Woodie
(1.45) WELLS DE LUNE (6/4, Bet365) could be worth chancing to follow up his recent Fakenham win, and the Irish Wells gelding can strike again assuming this doesn’t come too soon.
Peter Bowen’s Irish Wells gelding has won both over hurdles and fences, and he defied unease in the market to make a winning return from more than four months off the track when taking a Fakenham claimer by just over two lengths from Airton.
There is a chance that just eight days on from that last outing that this could come too soon, but this sharp track should suit his front-running style and if he arrives here in similar form to last time then he ought to go close here with his amateur rider boasting a good record on board the nine-year old.
(2.15) THE BAY BIRCH (9/4, William Hill) hasn’t been in the same form since winning on her reappearance at Chepstow back in October last year to land a hat-trick of wins; but Matt Sheppard’s charge can bounce back here.
The Beneficial mare finished behind Northern Beau at Cheltenham in December, beaten almost fifteen lengths into fifth, and she may ideally want further than this two miles. However, she has upwards of 7lbs in hand of these rivals on official ratings but can contest on level terms so at the weights she looks the one to beat.
Proven stamina for further could prove to be an asset if this contest develops into a slog in the heavy ground, and she could be worth siding with to return to winning ways and land this Listed prize.
1.10 – Lough Har
1.45 – Wells De Lune
2.15 – The Bay Birch
2.50 – Lightly Squeeze
3.20 – Hurricane Arcadio
3.55 – Stolen Silver
(5.00) PARKNACILLA (6/1, Ladbrokes) goes well at this track, winning twice and making the frame twice from her four starts over course and distance, and the Mukhadram filly can get back on the scoresheet.
Henry Spiller’s charge posted back-to-back wins back in September, and she followed up with successive runner-up efforts which include being denied only by a nose latest behind J’ouvert where she conceded first run and the front two were well clear of the rest.
A subsequent 4lbs rise in the weights does demand a shade more from her, but given her consistent profile she ought to continue to be involved and every chance she can return to winning ways here where she could still have the scope for improvement.
(5.30) AGENT SHIFTWELL (11/8, Coral) has shaped with plenty of promise in his three starts to date, getting off the mark latest when beating Autumn Trail by a half-length, and Stuart Williams’ charge can double up here.
The Equiano colt made all the running on that occasion, finding plenty, and the race has thrown up a subsequent winner so his opening handicap rating of 75 could prove workable.
He looks a progressive sort, and he is less exposed than his rivals so every chance he can make his presence felt again where he can land a second successive win.
4.00 – Casina Di Notte
4.30 – Roca Magica
5.00 – Parknacilla
5.30 – Agent Shiftwell
6.00 – Homesick Boy
6.30 – Phoenix Star
7.00 – Bright Melody