Available can fire for Boyle
WAY back in the 17th Century, a Scottish bloke by the named of Patrick Young worked as the royal librarian to King James I, and later King Charles I.
Young was often tasked with finding the best weather forecasters in the country so that the king could plan his travel schedule with as little interruption as possible from rain, wind, snow and ice.
Well known for his intelligence and sharp observations, Young once commented that "the trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it, and wrong too often for us to rely on it."
Despite the fact that we have satellites orbiting the earth these days, Young's words still ring true.
Having spent half the week working on Newbury's card in the hope that the predicted milder weather might finally arrive, I had to bin all my work yesterday morning following a snowfall on Thursday night.
We really haven't come all that far in our weather-forecasting abilities since the time of Young, but I suppose that cancelled meetings are simply an occupational hazard at this time of the year.
We were supposed to see Cheltenham hopefuls Long Run, Sprinter Sacre and Zarkandar all go for a spin, but we'll have to settle for some all-weather action instead -- plus some jumps racing from Naas and Musselburgh, provided the weather doesn't make further interventions.
From the meetings that are going ahead, I reckon Available could be the bet of the day in the Blue Square Winter Carnival iPhone App Maiden Stakes (1.05 Lingfield), with the bookmakers going 4/1 early-doors.
She's raced only twice and was fourth on both occasions but she showed plenty of promise on her debut run in October despite the fact that the seven-furlong trip was probably not to her liking.
Available is bred for speed, so trainer Jim Boyle (who took over from Richard Hannon following her debut) subsequently dropped her to six furlongs in another maiden at Kempton a week later.
She seemed tired in that race and perhaps a break of a week was a little on the short side, so I'm going to overlook her lacklustre performance.
This time, she's down to the minimum distance and the word from the yard is that she's wintered well and is raring to go once again.
Saint Boniface could be the one to give the selection the most to worry about. He's a half-brother to a couple of winners and is shaping up to be a decent sort, although he's raced a little greenly in his latest couple of outings.
In the opening novices' hurdle at Musselburgh (1.30), Cross Of Honour is the one to side with, priced around 11/10. He won a point-to-point and a bumper, and has shown plenty of promise in his three subsequent starts.
The Get Your Bet On at Bluesq.com Handicap at Lingfield (2.45) will probably see Palace Moon go off as favourite, but he's an inconsistent sort so early odds of 5/2 make little appeal in a tricky little contest.
At 8/1 in places, Santefisio could be the one to side with. He performed very well to come second in a Kempton handicap in his first race for this yard.
The handicapper hasn't been too harsh on him and it will be interesting to see how he handles the drop in trip to six furlongs.
1.05 Lingfield: Available
1.30 Musselburgh: Cross Of Honour
1.50 Naas: Bog Warrior
2.45 Lingfield: Santefisio (e/w)