Racing: Ballyboy has light task at Ayr: John Cobb offers a survivor's guide to the best holiday bets

SEDGEFIELD became the first faller of the Bank Holiday racing programme when succumbing to snow yesterday and it is short odds that more of today's nine remaining meetings will meet a similar fate.

At Market Rasen and Ayr there will be inspections at 8am and a rise in temperature is needed if the latter is to be saved. 'There's frost in the ground and we wouldn't have been able to race today,' Sam Morshead, the clerk of the course, said. 'But it's forecast to be milder tomorrow and if that happens we should be all right.'

Newton Abbot had seemed unlikely to survive an inspection for waterlogging on Christmas Eve but came through that test, while Huntingdon was passed fit after a check yesterday morning. The other five courses scheduled to stage racing report no problems, while at Chepstow, venue for tomorrow's Welsh National, Rodger Farrant, the clerk of the course, has 'no worries' despite some snow flurries and frost.

The worse the conditions, the more the comforts of the new pounds 15.3m WOLVERHAMPTON all-weather course seem attractive. A historic day for British racing, with two events staged under floodlights for the first time, could be marked in style if the weather closes in and it is just about the only meeting to survive.

The race-title - the Musco Lighting First Ever Floodlit in Great Britain Handicap - tells the story, although what an old stager like the nine-year-old Glencroft will make of it remains to be seen. Petraco (4.05), though, should be the one whose name will end up in the trivia tests, and Lookingforarainbow (2.35), who has won on the all-weather tracks at Lingfield and Southwell and finished second in the November Handicap on turf, looks the best bet on the card.

At WINCANTON a freeze is on the cards, Golden Freeze, the infamous horse that put Carvill's Hill off his jumping in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He has been switched from Jenny Pitman's stable to that of Richard Lee, but has not won over this two-mile trip for nearly six years and will not be able to cope with the up-and-coming Sailors Luck (1.10). With Barton Bank and Nevada Gold likely to be on duty at Kempton, Mudahim (2.10) can take the Mid Season Chase, while recent Irish import Lorna-Gail (1.40) looks an interesting proposition in the 26- runner handicap hurdle in which many of the runners are likely to be protecting their handicap marks for more important races later on.

WETHERBY stages the most valuable race of the day outside Kempton, the Rowland Meyrick Chase, but with Cogent announced a non-runner yesterday the event is lacking its usual quality. Young Benz (2.30), unproven at the trip but an enthusiast for soft ground, may overcome a powerful pair from Mary Reveley's stable. Clyde Ranger deserves to take the novice chase after coming home first in the void race at Kelso 11 days ago, but One Man (1.30) is a formidable opponent whose ability will be reflected by short odds. Home Counties (2.00) is more of a betting proposition, but beware Our Slimbridge if Market Rasen is abandoned and he is switched here.

If MARKET RASEN does go ahead the harsh conditions will make the Lincolnshire National, over 4 miles 1 furlong, a gruelling test. Stay On Tracks (3.05) has been in good form since being bought by Di Haine at the Arthur Stephenson dispersal sale and could triumph over All Jeff in what could be a fascinating trial of durability.

AYR, the other track where a morning inspection has been announced, is along with Hereford a newcomer to this day in the racing calendar. The Scottish track is also making its contribution to history by staging the first of the 'open bumpers' in which professional jockeys are allowed to take part alongside amateurs and conditional riders. Rhossili Bay (3.10) has an obvious chance in that, while My Ballyboy (nap 2.10), who was on the heels of the season's outstanding juvenile hurdler, Mysilv, when falling last time, usually jumps well and is leniently treated on his first foray into handicap company. He could be the bet of the day.

Toby Balding has enlisted two unfamiliar names to ride his horses at NEWTON ABBOT. Craig Thornton, the New Zealander who was champion jump jockey in America last year and who had a victory at Haydock when last in this country six years ago, should resume the winning thread with Ask The Governor (12.45). Eddie Leonard, the former champion Irish apprentice, has been forced to switch to jumping because of weight problems and partners Balding's Gavaskar in the finale. Hold Your Ranks (3.15) finished fourth in a fast-run race last time and may hold too many guns, while Don't Light Up (2.45), twice a course-and-distance winner, looks the meeting's banker despite being just out of the handicap.

Nick The Beak, is an interesting prospect in the novice hurdle at HUNTINGDON, especially if he is a cut above the stable's Nick The Brief, as his name would suggest. With John Upson's yard out of form, though, Nigel Twiston-Davies's Finesse The King (1.00) looks a better proposition.

Whatever the fate of Young Hustler at Kempton, Twiston-Davies seems assured of a winner at HEREFORD, where the progressive Man Of Mystery (3.05) will start at short odds. Happy Horse (2.35) also looks worth a bet there, although it could just be punters' follies that makes him smile.

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup