Thursday’s Lucky 15 – Our UK Racing Best Bets on January 6

Chelmsford host one of two all-weather meetings, and three across the UK on Thursday.Chelmsford host one of two all-weather meetings, and three across the UK on Thursday.

Horse Racing Tips on Thursday, January 6

All three British meetings are represented in our editor’s 4,438/1 Lucky 15 on Thursday. Chepstow,  Newcastle and Chelmsford all host packed meetings on a busy weekday’s racing.

Port Or Starboard (12:40 Chepstow)

Five horses are split by very little towards the top of the market. Hurdles debutants Marco Island and Git Maker may well be up to this level, but the experience of PORT OR STARBOARD can be put to good use by Ben Jones.

Trainer Bernard Llewellyn’s stats do not tell the whole story as out of 87 runners in the last two seasons, 25 have finished in the top three. That is a decent return given his yard is not one of the most prominent, but only three of those 25 have won.

Seconditis has been an issue, especially with this horse and stable start Zambezi Fix, who was runner-up in all three starts last season. Port Or Starboard has been second on all three over hurdles too, all at Ffos Las.

He improved for heavy going last time to get within 1 ¼ lengths of the winner and Chepstow heavy is often even deeper. While others may find that a challenge, Llewellyn’s charge may finally be able to get off the mark.

Wabbal (3:10 Newcastle)

Class 6 handicaps are probably not what Al Shaqab had in mind for WABBAL, bought for 140,000 euros in the yearling sales in August 2019.

He is half-brother to four horses, all of whom have achieved an RPR of at least 70, with A Wave Of The Sea being a very useful chaser and hurdler for Joseph O’Brien. His sire, No Nay Never, should have been the most exciting visit for his dam, Je T’Adore, but Al Shaqab and Richard Fahey are yet to reap any reward.

However, his three runs have not been totally hopeless and his best run, on debut, came when running over this seven furlong trip in November at Wolverhampton. That course uses the same all-weather surface as Newcastle.

A mark of 54 is particularly lowly and he should be capable of far better. It is possible that handicaps will be the making of him.

Destin D’Ajonc (3:50 Chepstow)

Ominously, Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch team up with Gemirande, who is having just his second chase start in this race. Given their record with similar types this season, it would be little surprise if he challenged.

However, based on his effort at Southwell last month, he is opposable. Jonjo O’Neill’s DESTIN D’AJONC may be the horse to take him on with.

His sole run over course and distance to date provided his only chase victory last February. That was off just 1lb lower than his mark for this race, yet he won that race very comfortably.

His return at Uttoxeter last month was respectable for much of the way and back on heavy ground and on his second run after a wind operation, he is well in the reckoning.

Almaan (4:00 Chelmsford)

Henry Spiller regularly outperforms with older horses on the all-weather. If you backed all of his 206 runners in the last five seasons of this type, you’d be over 37 points in profit.

That is a tremendous return, suggesting both that he is adept at race placement and also consistently underestimated.

ALMAAN joined his yard from Sir Michael Stoute last month after three promising novice attempts and though he was only eighth on his stable debut, he missed the break and hung left up the straight despite coming widest of all.

He ended up making ground late on, so the extra furlong should be to his benefit. He is much more likely to improve for his second start for this yard and is an interesting contender here.