Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 3 December 2016

Cuthbert the best of very slim pickings

Wayne Bailey

Published 09/01/2010 | 05:00

SOMEONE once said that "frustration is when the same snow that covers the ski slopes makes the roads to get there impossible."

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The snow and ice has certainly made it a very frustrating week on the racing front and at the time of writing, today's fare consists of two all-weather meetings that are not certain to go ahead.

Ironically, earlier this week the all-weather racing was cancelled due to the snow and gamblers, some stuck at home themselves, have been twiddling their thumbs all week.

In fairness, the courses were raceable, but jockeys, punters and even ambulances couldn't make it.

We're feeling the pain in Ireland too and along with Punchestown today, tomorrow's big fixture at Leopardstown has been cancelled and we haven't seen any action in this country since January 2.

Surely it's time to look at opening up Dundalk at this time of the year -- a course that sits just off one of the best motorways in the country? It seems like a typical Irish joke, but our fantastic all-weather facility is left idle in the winter time, which makes no sense at all to me.

The argument goes that there wouldn't be enough flat horses to make up the numbers during the winter, but I've been speaking to some trainers and owners and they would love to let their jumps horses stretch their legs on the level. Indeed, Noel Meade is a shining example and has had no less than 60 runners there.

Speak to any owner and they will tell you of their frustration in not getting a race out of the horse they spent plenty of money on. It's my guess that winter racing from Dundalk would be a lot more popular than people think.

I'm not suggesting we have racing for the sake of it like the banded stuff in the UK a couple of years back -- but a week or two of nothing is not the way forward for a sport we need to promote now more than ever.

Southwell will host an all-bumper card on Wednesday, which has been greeted with enthusiasm.

The Welsh National at Ffos Las has been abandoned -- but half a loaf is better than no bread at all, so let's try our best to get a few winners out of the bag today, even if they are tricky all-weather cards.

Last week was OK with Stormy Summer winning well at 3/1, so money returned on the single, but in the football, Blackpool let me down for the double, meaning the slate was wiped level with the layers.

It's even-steven for 2010 so far, but I'm pretty confident of getting a couple of quid off them today, however, and Cuthbert could be the one to help me achieve my goal in the Bet Premier League Football-Betdaq Handicap (1.35 Lingfield).

The colt looked impressive when winning a maiden here last-time-out over seven furlongs, but the joint-favourites that day were never at the races and I wouldn't read too deeply into that form.

That said, I've felt that he's the sort that would enjoy a step up to the mile and a small-field handicap off a relatively low weight may prove a shrewd move on trainer William Jarvis' part. On paper, Zubova looks the danger but a string of ducks next to her name represents her quirky attitude and on that basis, Transfixed may give the selection most to do. But I'm fairly confid-ent my lad will have a bit in hand when it matters and early quotes of 7/2 are a tick or too inflated.

The each-way thieves could do worse than chance their arm on Fathsta in the Lingfield Park Betdaq The Betting Exchange 'Super 7' Handicap (2.10).

He's come on in leaps and bounds since joining David Simcock and I've a sneaky feeling that he could be a few pounds ahead of the assessor and 10/1 early-doors look quite generous.

Today's selections

12.35 Lingfield -- Clear Sailing

1.35 Lingfield -- Cuthbert

2.10 Lingfield -- Fathsta

3.25 Kempton -- Straboe

Irish Independent

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