Thursday 4 January horse racing tips – Haggas’ Evens chance can pass Wolverhampton test

Bangor is one of four meetings going to post on Thursday.

Bangor is one of four meetings going to post on Thursday.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for Thursday’s UK horse racing action.

Thursday’s fixture list of horse racing action takes in a further four UK meetings with jumps racing action going to post at Bangor.

The bulk of Thursday’s horse racing action takes place on the all-weather, and the day’s afternoon race-cards come from Newcastle and Wolverhampton, both on tapeta; while in the evening the focus switches to polytrack for a meeting at Chelmsford.

Newcastle (flat, aw) – 1.00 – 4.55pm (8 races)

Bangor (jumps) – 1.15 – 3.5pm (6 races)

Wolverhampton (flat, aw) – 1.55 – 5.35pm (8 races)

Chelmsford (flat, aw) – 6.15 – 8.45pm (6 races)


(2.05) GOOD TIME AHEAD (2/1, William Hill) has been in good form in recent outings at Southwell, winning two of his last three and being far from disgraced when beaten four lengths under a penalty on his latest outing there behind Snowy Winter.

Philip Kirby’s charge Iffraaj gelding has been raised a further 2lbs in the weights, and there is a chance that the handicapper has caught up to him judged on that last effort; however that run came over a considerably shorter trip than this, and he could find further improvement for the stiffer test of stamina.

He had won well previously over 1m6f at Southwell in December, posting an easy four lengths’ success, and shaping as if the longer trip would suit. A good 7lbs claimer takes over in the saddle for this latest assignment to ease the weight burden facing the Iffraaj gelding, and he may be able to resume winning ways here.

Newcastle race on their all-weather track on Thursday.

Newcastle race on their all-weather track on Thursday.

(3.10) DESERT RULER (5/1, Paddy Power) has been finding winning tough on the level since scoring at York a few seasons back; but Jedd O’Keefe’s charge boasts a very consistent profile, and the Kheleyf gelding made the frame in six of his seven starts on the flat before disappointing at Kempton in November where he beat only one home.

Subsequently well-beaten over hurdles at the beginning of December when finishing sixth of 12 runners at Sedgefield, he returns to the flat here where could bounce back on his tapeta debut and taking a slight drop back in distance.

1.00 – Kaser

1.30 – Apalis

2.05 – Good Time Ahead

2.40 – Winds Of Fire

3.10 – Desert Ruler

3.45 – Supreme Power

4.20 – Limoncino

4.55 – Pearl Acclaim


(1.45) VICE ET VERTU (7/1, Paddy Power) could be worth chancing to bounce back from his pulled-up run at Exeter last month, where Henry Daly’s charge may have found the ground and extreme trip too much of a test on his return from a seven month break.

The Network gelding had signed off the previous season with a win at Towcester in May, adding to an earlier success at Ludlow last November; not at his best inbetween those outings, he could strip fitter for that return to action where he pulled up behind Yanmare having weakened quickly in that race.

Dropped 2lbs in the weights, he is reunited with Paddy Brennan who has won twice on Henry Daly’s charge, and he can bounce back here with that run under his belt.

(2.15) A winner between the flags for Donnchadh Doyle, UPPERTOWN PRINCE (11/8, Ladbrokes) went into plenty of notebooks when romping to an impressive course success early last month, beating The Dellercheckout by seven lengths comfortably.

Donald McCain has his string in good form, and the Strategic Prince gelding travelled noticeably well in that race, taking up the running two hurdles from home and staying on powerfully to post a ready success.

Sure to improve for the experience, this longer trip ought to suit and he can make it two wins from two starts for his in-form yard.

1.15 – Ballyegan Warrior

1.45 – Vice Et Vertu

2.15 – Uppertown Prince

2.50 – Article Fifty

3.20 – American Life

3.55 – Before Midnight


(3.00) DIAGNOSTIC (Evens, BetVictor) has shown progressive form on all four starts thus far, finishing runner-up on debut at Chepstow in September but winning on each of her three subsequent outings – all at Chelmsford.

William Haggas’ Dutch Art filly had plenty in hand when beating Impart under a penalty on her latest outing, posting a four lengths’ victory, and open to further progress coming back from a short break she could be hard to beat in her quest for a four-timer if continuing to show similar improvement.

Assuming the switch to tapeta doesn’t pose an issue, she can continue her progression to score again.

William Haggas' Diagnostic can win again with success at Wolverhampton.

William Haggas’ Diagnostic can win again with success at Wolverhampton.

(5.05) INFLUENT (11/4, Betway) struck on her first start of the season at Kempton back in August, beating Ambrosia by two lengths; that form has worked out well, and although she failed to back up that outing in subsequent starts, the Shamardal filly shaped well over this course and distance last month when beaten just over two lengths behind Swift Emperor.

The steady pace there may not have helped, but now fitted with first-time cheekpieces then the headgear could well prove a catalyst for improvement, and she can step up on that effort to get back on the scoresheet.

Still unexposed after just five starts, James Tate’s charge may have better to come, and open to further progress she is worth siding with that she can take a forward step with the first-time headgear tried in hope of ekeing out further improvement.

1.55 – Swissal

2.25 – Authentic Art

3.00 – Diagnostic

3.30 – Breathless Times

4.05 – Herm

4.35 – Hisar

5.05 – Influent

5.35 – Widnes


(7.15) NOBLE BEHEST (6/4, Ladbrokes) beat the reopposing Lost The Moon by a head when the pair met at Lingfield last month, but despite the latter being 3lbs better off now at the weights, Robert Stephens’ charge can continue his winning sequence.

The Sir Percy gelding was winning for the fourth time when registering that success, and it appears to have been a masterstroke by previous trainer Marcus Tregoning to step him up in trip to two miles; now with Robert Stephens, for whom he was making his first start when posting his latest win, he scored a shade cosily in that success and could have further improvement to come over this trip.

A five-timer looks very much on the cards assuming he can continue in similar vein, and he ought to go close again given his progressive profile over this longer trip.

Udontdodou (left) can win again with success at Chelmsford.

Udontdodou (left) can win again with success at Chelmsford.

(7.45) UDONTDODOU (9/4, BetVictor) is 3-4 at this venue, with the latest of those successes coming over course and distance back in September where he ran out a two lengths’ winner over Foxy Forever.

Rae Guest’s Fastnet Rock gelding had also won here in June, adding to an earlier success back in April – both over six furlongs – and while not so good on turf inbetween, he clearly goes well on this surface at this track.

Value for more than the official margin last time, both the runner-up and third have won since, and although a 5lbs rise in the weights requires a career-best he can continue to thrive on this surface to go close again.

6.15 – Native Arrow

6.45 – Ebtkaar

7.15 – Noble Behest

7.45 – Udontdodou

8.15 – The Eagle’s Nest

8.45 – Toolatetodelegate