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UK Racing Best Bets & Tips – Friday 31 January 2020

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Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips for Friday’s racing taking place at Newcastle, Lingfield, Catterick and Chepstow.

Newcastle Best Bets

Race 1: BILLY RAY (4) (Each Way)
Trainer: Sam England 
Jockey: Dougie Costello

On his excellent run against Withhold in the Marsh Cup at Newbury BILLY RAY would be a worthy favourite for this, but the 5yo has subsequently suffered wind trouble and barked on a spell hurdling. He was beaten 20 lengths when last seen here a month ago but may have it in him to relive past glories at a working man’s price.

Trainer: Tim Easterby 
Jockey: Duran Fentiman 

The blinkered VIVE LA DIFFERENCE ended last year riding on the crest of a wave and signalled he means to start where he left off with a pleasing comeback effort at this level here earlier in the month. He recovered from a tardy start to loom dangerously, only to weaken as if the run would do him the power of good. It should have helped bring him to the boil.

Trainer: Alan Brown 
Jockey: Donal Nolan 

After getting mugged in the shadow of the post when heavily backed at Wolverhampton, BLACKCURRENT holds a strong chance of going one better stepped up to six furlongs and can gain an overdue yet deserved success.

Lingfield Best Bets

Trainer: Mark Johnston 
Jockey: Franny Norton 

Johnston sets a poser by fielding the smart King’s Advice against MILDENBERGER but the latter should enjoy the run of the race with an uncontested lead and will be hard to peg back. He tired in the closing stages of his comeback race over this two mile trip at Kempton but the money that went west on him that day can now be recouped with interest.

Race 4: NIGEL NOTT (1) 
Trainer: David Simcock 
Jockey: D Hogan

This should result in an all the way triumph for NIGEL NOTT who adopted such tactics with telling effect on his reappearance at Chelmsford. As a 4yo taking on younger rivals he’s giving away stacks of weight, but the opposition looks weak.

Race 5: SKY DEFENDER (5) (Nap)
Trainer: Mark Johnston 
Jockey: Adam McNamara 

The lightly-raced SKY DEFENDER looks another great chance for the Johnston yard in this Class 3 handicap, having looked an improved horse when giving short shrift to his foes over course and distance at the start of the month. As he’s at his best when fresh, he’s enjoyed a refreshing gap since that race and if turning out 8n similar form will be hard to stop.

Catterick Best Bets

Race 1: BLACK ABBEY (4) 

Trainer: Harry Whittington 
Jockey: Brian Hughes 

An interesting jockey booking for BLACK ABBEY for whom this sharp track should prove ideal. The 4yo made a bold fist of trying to lead throughout at Newcastle and after two near misses is poised to open his account. His trainer has a high strike rate with horses he sends north from his Lambourn base. 

Race 2: FALBERTO (7) 
(Each Way)
Trainer: Sam Thomas 
Jockey: Conor Brace 

FALBERTO is gradually getting closer to a deserving first triumph and has troubled the judge in each of his three outings. The latest evidence saw him chase home Beaufort West at Chepstow and the winner has given the form a subsequent boost.

Race 7: POLA CHANCE (7) 
Trainer: Nigel Hawke 
Jockey: Ben Jones 

With a top conditional booked, POLA CHANCE is out to prove a clear cut win at Wetherby last week was no fluke. He was in total control over the last couple of flights and needs to show that his previous inconsistency is now a thing of the past.

Chepstow Best Bets

Race 2: MARIO DE PAIL (1)
Trainer: Sam Thomas 
Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies 

The progressive MARIO DE PAIL is strongly fancied to complete a hat-trick for a trainer that’s doing well with his small string. He was always in contention before pulling well clear on the run in at Kelso back in December and makes more appeal than Shantou Vow who in contrast ran a stinker in a similar race at Hereford.

Race 3: WALK IN THE MILL (5) 
Trainer: Robert Walford 
Jockey: James Bowen 

Grand National bound WALK IN THE MILL takes advantage of his novice status over hurdles to put forward an interesting case against some in form younger novices. Fresh from a memorable victory in the Becher Chase over the Aintree fences in December he can give his foes plenty to think about.

Race 5: LE CAMELEON (5) 
Trainer: Nick Williams 
Jockey: Chester Williams 

LE CAMELEON landed some good bets in style over two miles here and now steps up to two and a half. As he looked better the further he travelled that day there’s every chance he’ll prove just as effective going further for an outfit that does well with lightly raced improvers.

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