| 14.1°C Dublin

class captain a live arkle contender

WHAT do you call Bob The Builder now that the recession has hit? Answer: Bob.

There weren't too many faces around Leopardstown's Christmas festival it must be said, and the downturn in the economy is definitely hitting racing.

I did see JP McManus up there but numbers were most definitely down on previous years and the betting ring was pretty quiet.

I haven't seen the official figures but, judging by my scientific study of how long it takes to get served at the bar, the crowds were significantly lower.

As racing fans, we've got to support our sport and my New Year resolution is to make a genuine effort to get around the race courses of Ireland more -- and I would urge others to do the same.

On a different note, the main message I took from Leopardstown was that Captain Cee Bee could be a serious Irish Independent Arkle horse and I'm certain that he would have taken the Bord Na Mona Novice Chase had he not crumpled at the last fence.

I had Sizing Europe backed and there was no doubt that I was lucky to be collecting. Captain Cee Bee, at 7/1 for March, is well worth supporting.


More than half the jumps cards were cancelled yesterday so I thought the safest option was to focus on the all-weather action at Southwell.

At 6/1, I'm hoping Caprio will be the one to do it (12.55) and odds of 47.0 on Betfair for his win last-time-out at Dunstall Park was the deal of the year with the benefit of hindsight.

The son of Captain Rio has now won five from 33 races. The bookmakers continue to let him go off at decent prices and, once again, his odds look far too high today.

He got a three-pound weight rise for hammering his opponents at Wolverhampton but top weight of 9st 4lbs may not be enough to hold him back and a mate of mine in Epsom who is close to the Jim Boyle stable tells me that he's hacking up at home since that race.

The big danger to the selection is the William Haggas horse and Prohibition's win at Nottingham as a two-year-old in 2008 stands out in the formbook like a sore thumb.

He finished in last place at Wolverhampton in December, despite going off at 4/6 and I'm not yet convinced this son of Danehill Dancer will transfer his decent turf form to the all-weather.

For the each-way backers, Tri Chara could be worth a speculative punt in the closing race.

He's now seven pounds lower in weight than he was when winning over this course and distance last year and he might have a pound or two in hand against these opponents if running to form.

By the numbers:

Since 2003, backing the favourite in 3yo plus maiden races on Lingfield's all-weather has produced 73 winners from 164 races (45pc) and had you stuck a tenner on each, you'd show a profit of €109. Can the jolly keep up the trend in the 1.05?

Today's racing selections:

12.55 Southwell - Caprio

1.05 Lingfield - Tiradito

1.25 Southwell - Star Promise

2.00 Southwell - Stormy Summer

3.35 Southwell - Tri Chara (each-way)

Irish Independent